In the past I’ve posed the challenge to find the most obscure world day. ”World Measure Your Feet Day” on 23 January followed closely – not chronologically, but in uselessness – by “National Chocolate Covered Anything Day” on 16 December are the current front-runners for fickle days of entertainment. The fact that Chocolate Covered Anything day falls on my birthday has nothing to do with bias but rather due to a recent encounter of mine. I attended my GP for a prescription and, on describing some recent symptoms she suggested it had been a few years since I’d had a general health check. As a diligent carer and long term advocate of my own health needs, I was a willing participant. After some relatively simple tests, I was startled as she uttered five words that stopped me in my tracks: “Your blood sugar is high”. My what is what? I know I may have the odd unhealthy snack and glass of wine but I’m hardly doing a Hansel and Gretel devouring some poor old woman’s candy-house. Though perhaps the “Chocolate Covered Anything” joint celebration with my own has landed me in this predicament?
To give some context to my shock I should explain that my weight and BMI are generally in good shape. It is to no surprise that I found myself immediately justifying my healthy lifestyle and choices to my GP, only to hear 6 more words that were even more cutting than the first five: “it can happen in mature age”. Mature?! I hardly consider myself in that league. My Dad is mature, my Nan, well she is more your classic vintage cheddar these days, but me I still consider myself more a young fresh goats curd. It is hardly surprising that I left the surgery feeling deflated. I now await my fate to determine whether my “mature age” pancreas is slacking off. Of course, I returned home to Google everything on Diabetes.
Pause for dramatic effect.
Coincidentally today is “World Health Day 2016: Beat Diabetes”.
The statistics around diabetes are startling, with an estimated 347 million people in the world with diabetes in 2008 and growing, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In 2012, the disease was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths, with more than 80% of those occurring in low and middle-income countries. The World Health Organisation predicts that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
There are 2 main forms of the diabetes: people with type 1 diabetes typically produce none of their own insulin and require insulin injections to continue living with quality of life, and this is more prominent in younger people; People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90% of cases, usually produce their own insulin but not enough – or they are unable to use it properly. People with type 2 diabetes are also typically overweight and inactive. Overweight and inactive… this can’t be right! While I’m guilty of the odd kilo gain and loss, I consider this unlikely. It seems that diabetes can in fact affect anyone.
So after downing what may be my last guilt-free glass of wine, I sit and ponder what lays ahead while awaiting the tests. Regardless of the outcome, I realise that my days with sugar are numbered and perhaps consider crushing levels of Candy Crush as the only suitable candy devouring alternative from now on.