How different are we? By Helen May
Ben’s comments touched on one of my hobby horses: I have been thinking about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Until I was diagnosed with diabetes, like many, I was not aware of multiple types of diabetes. Now I know there is Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes, amongst others. All these types have the same name and a single charity. Having Type 1, this is the type I know best.
However, when you read the detail in press reports, they are usually about Type 2; most research projects are to understand the causes, cures and management of Type 2 and one of the comments I’ve received when I tell people I have diabetes (“you can’t have diabetes, you’re not fat!”) shows that most people know far more about Type 2.
According to Diabetes UK, there about 2.8 million people in the UK with diabetes. I have read that around 90% of these have Type 2. Therefore, I calculate that there are about 280,000 people in the UK with Type 1. Comparing this with other conditions, I wonder whether Type 1 diabetes should have its own charity? For example, between 6500 and 8000 people in the UK have Huntingdon’s diseases and they have the Huntingdon’s Disease Association (HDA).
There are similarities between Type 1 and Type 2: the symptoms are the same; the medicine is often the same; the lifestyle management is the same; the aim of the treatment to maintain good blood glucose control is the same; the prejudices we may experience are the same; and the long term affects of not managing the diabetes can be the same. So on second thoughts, I think it is correct to have a single charity campaigning and researching on behalf of all of us, regardless of type. Ten percent is a big enough minority that our voices will still be heard. In return, we get a much louder voice from 2.8 million people.
Sorry to get distracted on this topic. Next time I promise to write about some of my fun activities.