Diabetes is a ticking time-bomb

Fenella Littleboy

Fenella Littleboy - Credit: Archant

Today, thousands of people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes will be remembering their Date of Diagnosis; the day their life changed irrevocably.

For some, it will have been life-saving; for all, it will have been life-changing.

For children diagnosed with T1D, that diagnosis will have profoundly affected their entire family. We grieve for our children's lost childhood as diabetes management is an almost constant anxiety for sufferer and carer. It is a 365/24/7 operation, carefully balancing and juggling food intake, diet, exercise, insulin, sugar, sleep, heat, excitement, illness, school trips, sleepovers, playdates, tantrums, hormones, unexpected events, nightly monitoring, sometimes every two hours. At its most basic level, we exist to keep our children alive each day because anything can affect levels, no day is the same as any other and sometimes it's a case of 'That's Diabetes'.

The N&N looks after 350 children with Type 1, a rate three times higher than the average across the country. The Diabetes Clinic has succeeded in putting over half its patients on insulin pumps, which is well above average compared to other regions. We are lucky in Norfolk to have such a dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate team, who love and protect our children. They work with schools to ensure that our children can make the most of their education without risking their health.

Schools are required, by law, to provide care for children with Type 1, but they need to commit to understanding the child in question and know them well enough to support them effectively. Some children are exceptionally lucky and go to schools that work with them to empower them and work closely with the parents to learn as much as they can. For some schools and parents it can be extremely tough as the school may be required to provide 1-1s and follow complicated care plans.

Diabetes is a ticking time-bomb for the NHS to cope with. Type 2 represents 90% of sufferers; Type 1 less than 10%, many children. Sadly, it is also seeing children with Type 2 now. World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which we can help all people with Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, to educate, achieve optimum health and, ultimately, save the NHS a fortune now and in the future.