As World Diabetes Day on November 14 approaches, Diabetes East London has highlighted the importance of ongoing awareness and education.
The global theme for World Diabetes Day 2022 is Education to Protect Tomorrow, emphasising the importance of continuous campaigns.
Diabetes East London’s Earl Bell said diabetes sufferers in the city were faced with many challenges.
Without medical aid, many sufferers do not have access to blood glucose monitoring machines.
Earl said there were also limited to non-existent nursing staff who specialised in diabetes care.
Many people also could not afford to buy low glycemic foods, which are essential as part of one’s diet if diagnosed with diabetes.
“A misconception exists among our people with regard to the extent or degree of diabetes they are diagnosed with,” Bell said.
“People believe that those on insulin have the bad diabetes and those treated with oral medication tend to take their condition lightly and think they have slight diabetes or the type that does not need close monitoring or compliance to diet.
“In fact, type 1 or 2 or gestational diabetes must all be taken seriously.
“If not, this can lead to serious complications such as blindness, strokes, renal failure or amputations.
“We need people to understand there is no cure for diabetes as yet, but acceptance of the condition and lifestyle changes, together with scientific information is the only way of controlling this condition.”
When it comes to patient management, Diabetes East London encourages exercise, taking medication and controlling one’s diet.
It is recommended that patients exercise for 30 minutes a day, pay close attention to their weight and develop open communication with their healthcare providers regarding their treatment plan.
“We have come a long way since the discovery of insulin in 1921 and that is why we celebrate World Diabetes Day,” Bell said.
“I firmly believe the only difference between a person living with diabetes and a non-diabetic, is insulin.
“If we can make an effort to ensure that all people have access to medication, we will be making a difference.”
Diabetes East London hosts monthly meetings on important topics, with guest speakers such as general practitioners, biokineticists and audiologists.
The association also has an outreach relationship with Khanya Youth and Development Centre in Buffalo Flats, as well as online engagement with the East London Rotary Club.