Our Future of Diabetes report, released on World Diabetes Day, highlighted how important it is for people with diabetes to receive specialist, tailored support for the emotional side of life with the condition, as well as the physical side.
Over two thirds of respondents living in Wales told us that living with diabetes impacts their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Adjusting to life with diabetes isn’t easy, which is why access to specialist multidisciplinary teams is so crucial.
The right support
Tracy Wiggham’s son Ben Roberts, 11, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in March this year. Tracy, 49, from Cardiff, explains how access to the right support has helped Ben to manage his diabetes.
Tracy said, “Ben was waking at night to go to the toilet and constantly thirsty. I knew somewhere at the back of my mind that these were symptoms of diabetes, but it’s so easy to put them down to other things.
“Our GP sent us to the hospital for a blood test. Later that day the surgery called asking to bring Ben back as his sugar levels were a bit high. A simple finger prick test confirmed that he had Type 1 diabetes.
A constant balancing act
“At the beginning it was very emotional. The constant finger prick tests, measuring and weighing food, thinking about his sugar levels and what activity he’s doing, dealing with hypos – it is a constant balancing act. Ben is fantastic at managing his condition himself but it’s a big responsibility for an 11-year-old who just wants to be off with his friends.
“Ben coped really well with his diagnosis and seemed to take much of it in his stride, but whenever we had to go away from home he became really anxious. We arranged to see the team psychologist who really reassured him, explaining he was going through a big adjustment and gave him some coping techniques.
“Ben’s diabetes team has been amazing and we couldn’t do this without them. We have been so lucky with the support we have received but I know this has not been everyone’s experience. Consistency of care is a big issue in Wales. Living with Type 1 is hard enough when you have the support you need, but to have to fight for that support must be terrible.”