Health: How education is giving people with diabetes control over their own health

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A diagnosis of diabetes is not a direct ticket to poor health.

With the right education, people with the condition, which affects 3.9million UK residents, can take control of their wellbeing and have the best chance of living long and healthy lives.

To mark World Diabetes Day last week, national charity Diabetes UK has been raising awareness of the diabetes education courses it believes can help people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes through its ‘Taking Control’ campaign.

Diana Oakes, 42, from Alwoodley, has been managing her diabetes for decades having been diagnosed aged 11 in Romania where she was born.

“As advice and treatments change, having up to date information and support is vital to managing diabetes,” she said. “I credit education for my current good health and lack of severe complications after over 30 years with diabetes. I would encourage anybody living with the condition to find out if there is a course available to them.”

Diabetes UK claims support can help people improve their quality of life and reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation.

Stephen Ryan, regional manager at the charity, said: “Everyone with diabetes should have access to education from the moment of diagnosis and then throughout their lives.”

Diabetes UK estimates the condition costs the NHS nearly £10bn a year, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing avoidable complications.

Mr Ryan said: “We want to encourage everyone in Leeds who is living with diabetes to go and ask their health care professional for information about a diabetes education course.”

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

This is because your pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly, known as insulin resistance.

There are more than 39,000 people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in Leeds.

To find out more about going on an education course, speak to your GP or health care professional. To find out more about Taking Control visit www.diabetes.org.uk/taking-control.