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Type 2 diabetes: 25-year-old Parul is supporting others in the South Asian community

Parul Begum from Walsall in the Midlands is 25 and lives with type 2 diabetes. Both her parents had type 2 diabetes and died of complications of the condition in their 40s. That experience has driven her to raise awareness of diabetes and support others.

Parul said: “My dad, originally from Bangladesh, was diagnosed when I was a child. Unable to speak English, he relied on my mum to translate for him.

"Without her, he couldn’t arrange or attend medical appointments or understand how to manage his condition. Despite her ongoing care and support, my father suffered a stroke which left him partially paralyzed. My mum also developed diabetes, had to have two lower-limb amputations, became registered blind, and had kidney failure.

"I gave up my dream of going to university to care for them, but within a mere year, they both died."

Helping others with diabetes

Parul is a Community Health Champion at a Housing Association. She said:

“I work with people with or at risk of diabetes in disadvantaged communities. I ensure that they can access healthcare services and attend their annual diabetes healthcare check-ups as well as understand the complications of diabetes as I feel there are many misconceptions, language barriers, and stigma.”

Parul's experience of diabetes

When Parul was doing her A-levels, she started feeling ill, was very tired, using the toilet very often, was thirsty, and couldn’t concentrate in lessons. Her mother quickly identified the symptoms of diabetes and took her to see the GP to get treatment.

She says: "It’s a shock to be diagnosed with type 2 at that age and people make assumptions as they don’t understand genetic and familial risk.

"There was the perception that I was ill, that I couldn’t eat certain things, but I wanted relatives and friends to know that you can manage and live well with diabetes.

"I have neglected my diabetes due to stress and going through bereavement in the past, but I am on top of it now and feel I have to be an example to support others. I am passionate about ensuring services, information, and advice are available to all in ways they can understand.”



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