This week is diabetes awareness week and diabetes UK is running a campaign to dispel some of the myths that surround the disease. One such myth is that you can have a “touch of diabetes” when in reality anyone with diabetes has a progressive disease which can lead to significant health issues if the disease is not detected or well treated. 3.5 million people in the UK have a diagnosis of diabetes, in the last year, 235,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes and the charity estimate that a further 4,500 people will be diagnosed by the end of this week. These figures highlight the number of people affected by this disease and in turn the cost to the N.H.S of not only managing the disease but the complications that can arise. During this blog, we will look at what diabetes is, how it can affect your health and the signs and symptoms to look out for if you think you might have diabetes.
In order for our bodies to work correctly our cells require energy, we gain this energy from the food we eat, more specifically from the glucose in our food. Diabetes is the bodies inability to use this glucose effectively. The problems arise when insulin, the hormone required to manage glucose levels in the blood, is either absent, reduced or has become ineffective. Insulin is released by the organ called the pancreas. (see diagram above)
Diabetes can cause serious health issues if not well controlled or left untreated, these can include: heart disease, kidney disease, sight problems and problems with nerves causing reduced sensation especially in the feet. If diabetes is diagnosed early and well-controlled the risk of developing these conditions can be greatly reduced. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of diabetes early and assessing your risk of developing diabetes is therefore extremely beneficial.
Signs and symptoms of diabetes can include (but not limited too):
This week is child safety week raising awareness of the risks of childhood accidents and how we can prevent them. There are potential risks around every corner for developing and inquiring minds. Hot pans being pulled from the stove, trips and falls, road safety, swallowing of poisons to name but a few.
I have two children of my own and have had to deal with numerous accidents throughout their lives, falls, insect stings, illness and even the ingestion of medication. Being a qualified nurse of 20 years and now a training officer for Lubas medical, I feel prepared to cope with most situations, but when it comes to my own children things can always seem that little bit more worrying. It would appear I have not passed this anxiety onto them. I remember my daughter probably about 8 at the time fell from the trampoline and was crying in pain, when I asked her what happened she said she there was no point in telling me because all I would say is “you’ll be okay” when I asked her is that what I always say she said “yes, but you’re always right”. She cried for a little bit more and then ran off to play on the trampoline again. There were times however when I didn’t know it would be alright and remember 2 ambulance rides with my son, one when he had a fever, thankfully from tonsillitis and not meningitis and the other when his lips swelled due to an allergic reaction. I am thankful that I knew the signs to look for that indicated to me he was very unwell and knew the appropriate action to take.
Choking is a medical emergency that has always worried me and even more so where children are concerned. We all know that children put everything and anything in their mouths indeed my inquisitive daughter was once found eating the dogs’ dinner! As a child I can still remember my mother hitting a friend of mine hard on the back to dislodge a fifty pence piece that was stuck in her throat, thankfully she lived to tell the tale, but tragically some children do not.
We cannot wrap our children in cotton-wool nor supervise them 24 hours a day as they grow and seek independence, but we can prepare ourselves with knowledge and skills and be able to react what we should do when an accident happens. The message of this child safety week is turn off technology, to become less distracted and look at the world around us and the potential risks it holds for our children. You could use this time to attend the first aid for parents course so you will be prepared if an accident should happen. We at Lubas medical can run such courses anywhere, playgroups, mother and toddler groups or even workplaces. Give us a call to arrange a course today.