Diabetes is not a choice Kalisha Naicker

2016-05-03 06:00
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HELLO,my name is Kalisha and I am diabetic.
Why do I introduce myself this way? Well, it is because of all the pity statements and “looks” I get when I am out with friends and have to take my insulin ‘shot’ before my meal.

People at other tables gasp in horror when they see the insulin pen in my hand (not that I ‘shoot up’ in front of them), others walk up to me and say the dumbest things, such as, “Shame, are you diabetic? Do you eat a lot of sweet stuff? or “Have you tried try drinking lots of water so your sugar levels decrease?”
Not forgetting the stares I get when I reveal “my status” and people think I am contagious.

I did not choose the illness - it is more like the illness chose me. However, I am learning to live with it and feel that our community needs to be educated on how to deal with it.

Let me educate some of you on what diabetes really is.

Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), such as myself, either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

There is also gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant females. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood and their body is unable to produce enough insulin to transport all the glucose into their cells, resulting in progressively rising levels of glucose. This is also treated by medication and usually cures itself after pregnancy is over.

Hence all types of diabetes are treatable. Diabetes Type 1 lasts a lifetime, there is no known cure. Type 2 usually lasts a lifetime, however, some people have managed to get rid of their symptoms without medication, through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control.

Type 1 diabetes is treated with regular insulin injections, as well as a special diet and exercise.

Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.

If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications.

I assure you that diabetes is not contagious and is a preventable illness, so the next time you see someone with an insulin pen, or a person reveals that they are diabetic, do not pity them, rather be supportive.

If you have an illness you think people should know more about, email Kalisha.naicker@media24.com
Please look out for my next column on stigmas related to my diabetes.

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