A COMMUNITY leader who has lived with diabetes for more than 50 years has urged sufferers to ‘get together and talk’.
Bernard Peters, a member of East Staffordshire Borough Council’s cabinet and representative for its Brizlincote ward, made the impassioned plea as part of his support for Diabetes Week 2012.
Councillor Peters has lived with type one diabetes for 51 years and the condition means that his pancreas is unable to produce the insulin needed to absorb glucose.
The Conservative, who lives in Redwood Drive, Brizlincote Valley, told the Mail: “People have to remember that diabetes is a chronic illness, there is no cure for it and all you can do is manage and control it.
“In terms of how I deal with it, I have to have four injections and also take four or five blood tests a day to measure my blood sugar levels.
“But this has not inhibited my life and I have come to live and deal with the condition — for example I can go to the gym and do a workout but have to make sure I have glucose, in this case a bottle of Lucozade, at hand.
“One of the key points I want to get across during this week of awareness is that people do not need to hide or be afraid of diabetes.
“They should talk to people about what they have and let them know the ins and outs — it will not only help them live with the illness but also educate those around them, such as family members who may have to deal with issues that arise from the illness.
“People also need to make sure they adjust their lifestyle to accommodate diabetes — slight changes can mean that most people can live a relatively normal life.
“I recently read some statistics that a third of people keep quiet about their illness because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves.
“But they have to realise that it is important that people know what is wrong because Joe Public could easily mistake diabetes complications as a heart attack or an epileptic fit.
“The message I want to get across is that people need to take ownership of their illness, alter their lifestyle to fit with their diabetes and talk to others about their condition.”
DIABETES DROP-IN EVENT TAKES PLACE TOMORROW
TO coincide with Diabetes Week 2012, East Staffordshire Borough Council is holding a special drop-in event to help people with the condition.
The event will take place from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Meadowside Leisure Centre tomorrow.
Visitors will be able to seek advice on the condition and learn how exercise can play a part in improving their wellbeing.
Councillor Peters added: “As someone who understands the seriousness of diabetes, I know how important it is to get this message out there and let people know that Diabetes UK is there to provide help and support along the way. I would urge anyone who has this condition to come along to the drop-in session and get some valuable advice.”
More 3.7 million people in the UK have diabetes and there are a further seven million people at high risk of developing type two diabetes.
A Burton-based voluntary support group holds regular meetings at various venues to discuss their illness.
Diabetes UK Burton voluntary group next meets on Wednesday, June 27.
More information is available by calling Ann Tunley on 07753 672627.