New figures released today by Diabetes UK show that 700 people a day are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK – that’s one person every two minutes .The charity says people often say their diagnosis leaves them isolated and with unanswered questions.
To help people get a better understanding of their diabetes and to share great tips and handy hints from those living with the condition, Diabetes UK has launched a campaign and free book, ‘100 things I wish I’d known about living with diabetes’, which is written by people living with diabetes for people living with diabetes, their families and friends.
Eastenders actor Jonny Labey who has Type 1 urges everyone to get the book
‘No-one should feel alone with diabetes’
Actor Jonny Labey, who has Type 1 diabetes, said: “No-one should feel alone with their diabetes. Managing diabetes can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to stop anyone from achieving their goals. The great thing about this book is it shows how we can all support each other and this is not something we have to face all by ourselves. That’s why I’m so glad to have contributed to the book. I’d advise anyone with diabetes – whatever type they have – to get hold of a copy now.”
Other celebrities who have contributed tips include:
- TV presenter Phillip Schofield, whose mother and brother have Type 1 diabetes
- England international rugby player Chris Pennell who has Type 1 diabetes
- One half of the Hairy Bikers, Si King, whose wife and son have Type 1 diabetes
Campaign enlists people with diabetes to share tips
We have enlisted the support of people with experience of diabetes who have shared tips with others who are affected by the condition.
Covering everything from going on holiday and eating out, working out and managing diabetes alongside work, relationships and more, the book has advice for every part of life with diabetes from real experts – people living with diabetes.
From tips on finding out the local word for carbohydrate when you go on holiday, to knowing the best time of day to buy shoes for the best fit, the book is an indispensable guide to daily life for anyone affected by diabetes.
‘Real experts in managing the condition’
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We know that every two minutes someone is diagnosed with diabetes and people often tell us they are left in despair and feel like they have no-one to turn to. But that doesn’t need to be the case. We know that people who have diabetes and their loved ones are real experts in managing the condition, and have a wealth of tips and advice that help others overcome the daily challenges of life with diabetes.
“That’s why we’ve brought together their amazing knowledge into a collection of brilliant tips. Having this book is like having a best friend in the room who knows exactly what you are going through and who can offer tried and tested advice. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, if you’ve just been diagnosed or you’ve had diabetes for many years, this book offers invaluable support and insight.”
Order your own free copy of the book online or call Diabetes UK on 0800 035 5626.
Here are some of Diabetes UK Chief Executive Chris Askew’s favourite tips from the book:
“To avoid steep sugar highs when eating carbs like pasta, cook first then either refrigerate for an hour or freeze. Then reheat and consume – sugar spikes will be much lower.”Tahir, 53, from Bradford, who has Type 2 diabetesTahir, 53, from Bradford, who has Type 2 diabetes
“Be patient when bouncers try to throw away your sugary drink because they don’t understand it’s to treat a hypo (taking a sealed bottle rather than an open one helps with this).”Adele, 19, from Manchester, who has Type 1 diabetesAdele, 19, from Manchester, who has Type 1 diabetes
“My husband and I have an agreement: if he thinks I’m having a hypo, I test myself immediately with no arguments, even if I think I’m fine. Most of the time he’s right!”Melissa, 42, from Ongar, who has Type 1 diabetesMelissa, 42, from Ongar, who has Type 1 diabetes
“Before testing, wash your hands under warm water as this makes it easier to draw blood from your finger.”Mick, 72, from Surrey, whose wife and mother-in-law both have diabetesMick, 72, from Surrey, whose wife and mother-in-law both have diabetes
“Join diabetes groups and make friends – it’s the easiest way to get the support you need when you’re living with diabetes. I met my ‘diabestie’ this way and it makes life so much easier!”Taz, 24, from Cardiff, who has Type 1 diabetesTaz, 24, from Cardiff, who has Type 1 diabetes
Lots of Diabetes UK’s celebrity supporters have also contributed tips to the book.
Jonny LabeyJonny Labeyhas played Paul Coker in EastEnders since April 2015, and has also appeared in the West End musicals In the Heights and White Christmas and the award-winning film ‘Soft Lad’. As well as supporting Diabetes UK, Jonny is also an ambassador for Diabetes Jersey.
“Just because I go hypo from time to time doesn’t mean I’m a ‘bad diabetic’. It just means I’ve miscalculated my insulin or that my body’s going through a change. There are so many factors that can affect your blood sugar that you should never take it personally.”
Philip SchofieldPhilip Schofieldpresents This Morning on ITV and has also presented ITV’s coverage of the Royal wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Dancing On Ice and The Cube.
“If you’re going out for dinner with family or friends with diabetes, it’s helpful to pick a restaurant where they can have a quick look at the menu online first. And try to pick somewhere that gives you all the options – if they’re trying to go easy on the carbs, don’t plump for a restaurant that only serves pizza!”
Chris PennellChris Pennellplays rugby for Worcester Warriors and England.
“When exercising, test before, during (if possible) and after. See how exercise affects your levels to help you adjust your control for next time. Bear in mind when you have last eaten and injected as this will impact how quickly your blood glucose can change. Choose snacks such as dried apricots to help maintain your blood glucose levels during exercise and keep plenty of fluids close by. Some types of exercise will lower your blood glucose, some will actually raise it. That is why testing is so important!”
Si KingSi Kingis one half of The Hairy Bikers, whose cookery and travel shows appear on BBC2.
“If you enjoy baking, but want to cut back on the amount of sugar you’re using, try using fresh or dried fruit, like bananas or raisins, to add extra sweetness without the added sugar.”
Elinor CrawleyElinor Crawleyis an actress who has starred in a number of films and TV shows including the 2010 film Submarine, ITV’s Law & Order and BBC's The White Queen.
“Wearing a pump sparked a lot of conversation at school – a gym teacher even tried to confiscate it once, thinking it was an MP3 player and not realising I was attached at the other end! But it was the teachers, rather than my classmates, who had more questions. So, for me, the more relaxed you are about answering questions and the more normal you make your diabetes, the fewer questions you get.”
Stephen DixonStephen Dixonis a news reader on Sky News.
“We’ve all tried to ignore a hypo in the heat of passion. Don’t bother. Nothing goes up until your bloods go up.”
 Figure based on newly diagnosed figures from the 2011/12 and 2012/13 National Diabetes Audit (Health and Social Care Information Centre), extrapolated up to the whole population with diabetes indicated by the Quality and Outcomes Framework data for the equivalent years and divided by two to give an annual average