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People urged to talk about diabetes

The charity Diabetes UK is urging people with diabetes to open up about their condition.

The call comes after the charity found in a survey that nearly a third (34%) have kept, or are still keeping, their diabetes a secret.

Many of those who took part in the survey, carried out to mark Diabetes Week, miss insulin injections or delay testing their blood glucose levels in an effort to hide their diagnosis, raising their risk of suffering serious complications, such as coma, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

Of the nearly 4,000 people with diabetes polled, 49% said that keeping their condition a secret had impacted on how they manage their condition, with nearly two out of five (39%) admitting its impact on physical or emotional health.

Fear of discrimination or bullying prevents over a quarter (27%) of people from talking about their condition.

According to the poll, 59% keep their diabetes a secret at work, while 56% also hide it from their friends.

People hide their diabetes as they fear that talking about their condition could affect their employment chances, and could lead to other people assuming that the condition is the result of an unhealthy diet.

Copyright Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I took early retirement from teaching five years ago and went to France to set a woodworking business. Six months after I arrived I was diagnosed diabetic! I had felt quite unwell for some time and went to the doctor, had a blood test and found I was just off passing out! Metformin came next and then Janumet which has been a great boon. I had lots of tests for
all associated problems but was found to fine. I found out that nearly all the men I know here over 50 are diabetic and it is talked about quite freely and one does a cold! I have always had a healthy diet and have never been a sloth. With good
management and a NORMAL healthy diet a diabetic can live a fairly normal life. You just have to know what suits you and what does not. That takes time but is well worth the process. Talking about it with everyone is good. I am coming back to the UK shortly to stay and I am a little fearful of my diet in the UK as so much food has added sugar. Here in France there
foods with little or no sugar in comparison. Food manufacturers - please reduce the sugar content - use other things to thicken etc. I do not know where my diabetes came from as I have never been overweight but I have it and I regulate it without it upsetting anything I do. Provided you are aware of what to eat and what not to eat and take your drugs at the right time you can live a normal life without problems. It does not affect my work nor my social life so come on talk about it as there are more people with it than you may realise" - AC Tilley, France

"At 55 I have just been diagnosed with type 1 and tell everyone for my own safety. If I go out for a meal I inject in the restaurant usually at the table and no one has said anything to me. I live alone so they know at work that if I'm not in when they expect me to be they call to make sure I'm OK. It's not catching and there's nothing to be ashamed about" - Karen Bushell, Suffolk

"I work for the NHS, I have not kept my diabetes secret but engaged with my employers and managers and found that with the systems that are in place now that letting them know every appointment and sickness you have can lead to more stress. It is hard enough to deal with the routines and the
extra health examinations you go through as well as getting questioned about your health from your employers who should find out about diabetes as it affects some many people. I have been told its not punitive checking up through sickness reviews but if yous have an eye exam you cannot return to work or drive therefore its counted as an episode of sickness so the alternative is to take annual leave to cover it and not tell management. This is why people don't tell others because it's less stressful not getting questioned all the time.  Unless the person knows someone, like people with cancer, you never understand or comprehend what changes you have to make and the details of your life are documented. Unless you get meaningful support, understanding you need to go to
appointments because diabetes affects every part of your body, nothing will change" - Mr Brown, Middlesbrough

"Having had type II for 12 years I am, if asked, comfortable with letting others know of my condition. I however find the ignorant discrimination exercised by the travel insurance industry totally disgusting. The mere mention of diabetes inflates premiums many hundred percent" - George Ingram, Herts

"I was diagnosed type 1 13 years ago at the age of 55! I certainly do not hide the fact from anyone, but then, I have never given a damn about people's opinions of me. It's my kidneys, my eyes, my health and if people are so ignorant that they sneer etc, well tough. Either educate them or ignore them. Works for me" - Frederick Whiting, Somerset

"Total rubbish. I have had it diagnosed for 10 years and I do not care who knows" - Terrance Bradley, Northumberland