A Hemel woman has been chosen as the national face of Diabetes Week, which began on Monday.
65-year-old Pushpa Kalu was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2004 and thought she knew all about the condition.
She thought she knew all about her condition and how to manage it - until she attended a Diabetes UK Living With Diabetes Day in St Albans last October . The event showed her how to live well with the condition and also meet other people with Type 2 diabetes.
Pushpa said: “I thought I knew everything about diabetes, as my parents had the condition but I learnt so much at the event, my knowledge has improved greatly.
“I found out about the 15 healthcare essentials and the importance of checking not just your blood glucose levels, but your eyes and feet too.”
Pushpa’s photo will appear on posters promoting Diabetes Week and her story will also feature during the week to encourage others living with the condition to get the support they need.
Since the event, Pushpa has been motivated to maintain her diabetes appointments and schedule an annual review with her GP. Her husband was also diagnosed with the condition in 2012 and Pushpa finds it helpful as they support each other.
“I would encourage everyone with Type 2 diabetes to go to a Living with Diabetes Day, it’s really useful and a good forum for people put their questions to experts”, she added.
Sharon Roberts, eastern regional manager at Diabetes UK, said: “Many people who have just been diagnosed with diabetes or are living with the condition can feel overwhelmed and are very concerned by the possibility of life-altering complications.
“It can also be a scary and lonely experience given that people with diabetes only have contact with a healthcare professional for a few hours each year, being left the rest of the time to care for and manage their diabetes themselves.
“It is estimated that 95 per cent of diabetes management is left down to the individual, in the form of selfmanagement, and there is strong evidence that equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their condition effectively, people with diabetes can improve their quality of life and reduce their risk of developing complications.
“That’s why we offer people access to a range of support and education services. We know that one size doesn’t fit all, which is why we offer support in lots of different ways. From expert advice from health professionals at our free Living with Diabetes Days to online tools, such as our ‘Type 2 Diabetes and Me’ course, to our care events for young people with Type 1 diabetes, there are plenty of different ways people with diabetes can learn more about how to manage their condition well.”
There are more than 24,000 people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group area which includes Hemel Hempstead.
Diabetes Week takes place from June 14-20. Join the conversation on Twitter by sharing your hints, tips and stories of living life to the full with diabetes, using the hashtag #DiabetesAndMe
Find out more at www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetesweek