You might have joked about ‘getting diabetes’ from overindulging on sugary foods, but diabetes is no laughing matter, it’s a serious disease that can be deadly. Let’s be honest, we’ve all heard of diabetes, we probably know a few people who have it, but do we really know much about it? People who are diabetic can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose in their blood. Glucose is the main source of energy that helps our bodies to function, but irregular levels can cause a range of long and short term health complications. Our bodies transform the glucose from food into energy, and in a regular person, the hormone insulin does this effectively. In a diabetic person, insulin is either not produced effectively, or at all, which means that when they eat foods containing glucose, it cannot be converted into energy, and builds up to unsafe levels in the blood.
People with Type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin daily to maintain their blood glucose levels, and those with Type 2 diabetes have restricted or specialised diets to maintain their health. If diabetes is not managed, it can result in heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and limb amputation. It can also cause mental health issues including anxiety and depression. July 11-17 is National Diabetes Week, which aims to raise awareness of this potentially deadly disease. This year, the theme is ‘Heads Up on Diabetes’, highlighting the importance of focusing on the mental health of people living with diabetes. For many diabetics, there is a stigma surrounding the symptoms, causes and effects of diabetes, which takes a heavy toll on the mental wellbeing of many.
Some people see diabetes as being the fault of the person who has it, blaming poor diet and lifestyle choices for the illness, when in fact they may have little to no control over the condition. If you have a family history of diabetes, then there is a heightened risk that you will develop it during your lifetime. EasyDNA Australia understands that the prospect of developing or having diabetes is worrying for many people, and has developed the Genetic Predisposition Test, which screens for a number of diseases and medical conditions, including diabetes. By analysing your unique DNA sample, the test will reveal whether you have a genetic predisposition to developing diabetes, and will also indicate your overall risk of developing diabetes compared to the average population. Combined with taking a sensible and considered approach to your diet, exercise and overall well-being, this test is a great step forward in optimising a healthy future.
In support of National Diabetes Week, EasyDNA Australia will be logging in to the Heads Together forum on Tuesday 13 July from 7pm. It will be the biggest online discussion about the stigmas associated with mental health in relation to diabetes. Social media users can also raise awareness by using the hashtags #headsupdiabetes and #NDW2021.
Let’s help to smash the stigmas surrounding diabetes, to keep heads up and held high, and support our friends and family members with diabetes.