Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Diabetes management critical for sufferers

Belinda Williams speaks out about some of the misconceptions about diabetes.

KATHLEEN TONINI November 14, 2012 4:33am

Belinda Williams has to give herself five injections every day.

That is the reality of living with type 1 diabetes, which she has done for the past 17 and a half years.

For World Diabetes Day today, The Riv spoke to Ms Williams who said there were many misconceptions about diabetes.

She said people mainly confused the type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes means the pancreas stops producing insulin and, without insulin, the body cannot turn glucose into energy.

Though there is a strong family link, there is no known cause of the disease and there is no prevention or cure.

Ms Williams also has to test her blood glucose levels several times a day.

‘‘I’ve got fingers that are pretty much desensitised to needle pricks,’’ she said.

She said the management of diabetes was critical, though even after 17 years, it was hard to get the balance right.

Things like being slightly more active or having a meal with fewer carbohydrates could affect blood sugar levels.

‘‘Sometimes day-to-day it’s hard to know if you’re giving yourself the right amount of insulin.’’

Apart from her injections and monitoring her blood sugar, Ms Williams also has to be wary of what she eats.

She can’t eat too much fatty food or food with lots of sugar.

When out to lunch with friends Ms Williams said it was clear how unaware of the disease many people were.

‘‘People still, amazingly, stare and wonder ‘what is that person doing (when she tests her blood sugar, or injects herself)?’’

According to Diabetes Australia, type 2 is the more common form of diabetes, accounting for 85-90 per cent of diabetes cases.

Though there is a strong genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes, the risk is increased by factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, not enough physical activity and poor diet.

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