Diabetes: it’s a family affair

Every year on November 14, millions of people around the world come together to raise awareness of diabetes. This year’s World Diabetes Day is all about how family plays a part in the management, care and prevention of the disease, including the impact diabetes has on families.

There are three main focus areas the event will be addressing:

  1. Discover diabetes
  2. Prevent diabetes
  3. Manage diabetes

Detecting diabetes

According to the organisers of World Diabetes Day (www.worlddiabetesday.org), one in every two people with diabetes worldwide is undiagnosed. However to help prevent or delay serious complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation, early diagnosis and treatment is essential.

If you know the signs and symptoms to look out for, you can help protect yourself and your family.

The symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Frequent urination, particularly during the night
  • Feeling really thirsty
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Slow wound healing
  • Blurred vision

Preventing diabetes

Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with your diet or lifestyle. But since many cases of type 2 diabetes can be lifestyle related, there’s lots you can do to reduce your and your family’s risk.

According to the organisers of World Diabetes Day, when a family eats healthy meals and exercises together, all of the members benefit from behaviours that could help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile if diabetes runs in your family, it’s important to learn about the risks, the warning signs to look out for and what you can do to prevent diabetes and its complications.

To find out more about how your lifestyle can help reduce your risk of diabetes, have a chat with your local Careway pharmacist, who can give you tips about eating healthily and explain how active you should aim to be.

Managing diabetes

Family support is important for anyone who’s living with diabetes, as they may have to manage their condition with daily treatment, regular monitoring and by following a healthy lifestyle.

Diabetes UK has local groups around the country that give people with diabetes and their families a chance to meet and share their experiences with others in their position. The charity also has some special family groups for parents, children and young people with diabetes.

Find out more about Diabetes UK groups online, or find your nearest local support group. You can also share your experiences, ask questions and get tips by joining the charity’s online forum, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you an enormous amount of help with managing diabetes, whether you’re living with the condition yourself or you want to help a family member who’s affected. Find out what advice and support you can get by visiting your local Careway pharmacy today (locate your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder).