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Diabetes Week: One in five think people with diabetes cannot join organ register

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Over a fifth of people think that people with diabetes cannot join the organ donation register, according to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK.

The YouGov survey of 2,334 adults revealed that 22 per cent of people incorrectly thought people with diabetes cannot join the register. In reality having a medical condition, such as diabetes, does not prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor.

The survey revealed there are still lots of misconceptions about how having diabetes restricts people from doing things. More than one in 10 people (13 per cent) thought people with diabetes were not allowed to become a fire fighter, while almost a third of people (29 per cent) thought people with the condition cannot eat sweets. 

In fact, people with diabetes can include treats such as sweets and chocolates in their diet, but like everyone else, they shouldensure their overall diet is well balanced and healthy by eating less fat, sugar and salt and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. Some people with diabetes use sweets to raise their blood glucose levels if they fall too low. 

The survey also contained some encouraging news, showing that 46 per cent of people did not think there was anything that people with diabetes would not be able to do. 

The research has been released to mark the start ofDiabetes Week, which this year is focused on dispelling the myth that having diabetes stops people living normal and happy lives. The theme for the week is ‘I can’, and Diabetes UK is encouraging people with diabetes to use social media to share their stories of living with the condition. 

"Diabetes Week will celebrate those people who have changed 'you can't' into 'I can' "

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are all too often told ‘you can’t’. There are many myths surrounding diabetes that can get in the way, and the fact that many people still think that people with diabetes cannot join the organ register, eat sweets or become a firefighter shows that there is still a long way to go before we explode these myths.

“This is why we want this year’sDiabetes Weekto focus on the positive stories of people overcoming the challenges of the condition to celebrate those people who have changed ‘you can’t’ into ‘I can’. 

“There are countless men, women, and children who have the condition but overcome hurdles every day to get the most out of their lives. You only have to look at the examples of Steve Redgrave and Theresa May to see people with the condition not letting it hold them back.

“As well as celebrating the achievements of people with diabetes, we want to use the week to call for the NHS and the Government to do more to empower people with the condition. There are far too many people not being offered the diabetes educationthat can give them the tools they need to manage their own condition. We need to make sure everyone gets access to this education, as it can make a real difference to giving people the best possible chance of a long and healthy life.

“We also still hear from people with diabetes who say that they do not feel involved inplanning their own care. This is despite strong evidence that giving people greater control over how their condition is managed improves their health outcomes.”

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