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Former vet John Brown - there's the concern that people will think Type 2 is our fault

"With the Type 2 together group, we were able to meet in an informal situation, no one was lecturing us and we were all in it together."

For John, it was no surprise when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Like many, John’s family had a history of diabetes and his father had been diagnosed when he was in his fifties. A routine blood pressure check-up with his GP highlighted that John’s sugar levels were borderline for Type 2.

“As a vet I had quite a bit of medical knowledge and my wife is a GP so I didn’t feel I really needed a lot of extra information”, says John. “However getting the right information when you are diagnosed can be a bit of a postcode lottery. There’s a real mix, with some people feeling well informed while others leave their surgery with many questions.”

 John decided to take part in a pilot group for Type 2 Together - a new type of support, where people with Type 2 diabetes met others who also had the condition.

 “I thoroughly enjoyed taking part. We were able to meet in an informal situation, no one was lecturing us, and we were all in it together. The atmosphere was totally relaxed and people didn’t feel embarrassed or stupid about asking questions. We were able to learn from each other and it really helped people to talk about their own situation.”

“The idea of meeting people in a similar situation is very attractive to people with Type 2 diabetes. If you tell people that you have Type 2 then they just assume it is all to do with sugar but there is so much more to it than that.

"I think we are sometimes too embarrassed to talk about it because of the concern that people will think it’s our fault and we caused it by being overweight or drinking too much. If you tell someone you have cancer then I think they are instantly sympathetic, that’s not always the case for Type 2 diabetes and we need to change the public’s perception.”

John is hopeful that as more people find out about the support groups, they will grow and become a normal part of diabetes care.

“Our objective is to help people stay healthier for longer. We can’t cure our condition, we know it will get worse, but we can improve our health and delay certain symptoms by getting good advice and support. Meeting up with people who are in a similar situation, although we all have different stories and worries, helps to get back some control and you know you are not on your own.”

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