Diabetes junky by Helen May


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Helen MayMost of us on this blog site seem to consume information: Victoria researches treatments for gastroparesis, Andy shares experiences in his DUK group, Olly wrote about the advice his wife has shared about diabetes at school, Dr Alex informs us of the research he is undertaking, … And I hoover up information about diabetes through reading blogs, subscribing to the Diabetes UK magazines, setting up Google news feeds for anything with “diabetes” in the title, reviewing diabetes-related research papers and more.

My logic is the more I know about my condition, the better I can manage it: I learn what to expect in difference situations, I receive guidance on BG levels, I arm myself with questions to ask in my annual review and I am inspired by what others can achieve.

Not everything is useful. I have Type 1 and the majority of what I read is about Type 2. It’s understandable because, approximately, nine out of ten people with diabetes have Type 2. When people realise I have diabetes, they tell me about their aunt or parent or … who rarely have Type 1. Not wanting to be dismissive of their story, I find it useful to know more about Type 2.

However, I am starting to wonder if my desire to gather information about diabetes is becoming a compulsion. If I see anything related to diabetes in the news, I am straight in to get more information. It may be another cure, it may be another “how to avoid getting diabetes” story, it may be a natural history story. I have become fascinated by the latter and I am considering starting a collection. When I was a child, I inherited my brother’s stamp collection but, since then, my collecting shelf has become functional – books, CDs, DVDs.

You may think this is odd, but once I give you a couple of stories I have read so far this year, you may become addicted too:

– Did you know Lake Michigan is becoming poisoned by the Metformin not broken down by water treatment processes? This could affect the reproduction of the fish.
– What about the cone snails who “weaponise insulin” ? They kill their prey with hypoglycaemia by releasing an insulin-infused toxin.

How can anyone not be fascinated? Or am I weird? Have I taken my interest in diabetes too far? Is this the start of a full on addiction? I’m not intending to start a “Diabetes Presentation Shelf” covered in insulin vials from the last hundred years, a selection of medicare bracelets and a glass tank to show off my Cone Snails. Not Yet!

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