News

Help Stop Diabetes Stigma

Published
July 11, 2021

National Diabetes Week starts on July 11, and there’s no better time than now to talk about this serious and complex condition.

This year, the spotlight is on diabetes stigma and mental health.

Diabetesweek Low Res

Diabetes can affect your entire body and requires daily care. If complications develop, it can really impact your quality of life, reduce your life expectancy, and affect your mental health.

According to Diabetes Australia:

  • More than 80 per cent of people with diabetes report being judged, shamed or blamed for living with a serious health condition.
  • Nearly half of people with diabetes have experienced mental health challenges in the last 12 months. This was higher (over 65%) for people with type 1 diabetes and women with gestational diabetes.
  • More the one third of people with diabetes say they feel burned out by the constant effort required to manage diabetes.

People experience diabetes stigma when they are blamed for having diabetes, while managing diabetes such as injecting insulin or when they experience the affects and complications of diabetes such as low blood sugar.

Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson says it is critical that health professionals, people with diabetes and the broader community recognise the seriousness of the mental and emotional health impact of living with diabetes.

“Diabetes is absolutely relentless. Day in, day out, 365 days a year,” Professor Johnson says.

“People have to keep track of many daily tasks – medicines, blood glucose monitoring, and the numerous ongoing health checks that are required.

“The distress and worry about the long-term impact is real. Two-thirds of people with diabetes are worried about their long-term risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications like losing limbs, eyesight, experiencing kidney failure or heart failure.”

Diabetes doesn’t discriminate.

Three things you need to know about diabetes:

  • It is not one condition- there are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes
  • All types of diabetes are complex and require daily care and management
  • Diabetes does not discriminate, anyone can develop diabetes

This is why it is so important to learn about diabetes, so you can manage and prevent it not only for yourself, but to support loved ones who might be living with the condition.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and cannot be prevented.

Some risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes can be controlled by making lifestyle changes, while others you are born with.

Check your risk

We encourage you to check your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, using the Diabetes Australia type 2 diabetes risk calculator. It is a simple and easy way to assess your risk by answering 11 short questions.

If you think you are at risk, it’s time to talk to your GP.

You can also join the Life! program - a free Victorian lifestyle modification program that helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It’s funded by the Victorian Government and is the biggest prevention program of its type in Australia.

Visit www.lifeprogram.org.au for more information.