Chief nursing officer with type 1 diabetes urges young people to look after their health

Benedict Jephcote
Fri, 18 Nov 2016
Chief nursing officer with type 1 diabetes urges young people to look after their health
The chief nursing officer in England has urged young people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes to plan for their condition to avoid complications.

Jane Cummings was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 19 and has spoken out in a bid to raise awareness of the autoimmune disease and to help young people facing a life with diabetes.

Jane, now in her 50s, said: "Some people say it is a restriction on the things you can do but I say it’s far better to look after yourself, treat your diabetes with respect, don’t mess with it and if you do that you’ll be fitter and healthier and have fewer complications."

When Jane was a student nurse she suffered from weight loss and tiredness, which she initially put down to working hard. She was helped to manage her condition by a sister on her ward who had a daughter with diabetes and a diabetic specialist nurse.

Jane said: "They helped me look at the food I was eating and think about how much insulin I was giving myself.

"I have a sensible balanced diet but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun."

In the UK approximately 303,000 people are living with type 1 diabetes and there are around 2,000 of those newly diagnosed each year with type 1 diabetes are children.

Dr Partha Kar, Associate National Clinical Director for Diabetes for NHS England, says talking to young people as soon as they are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is essential to establishing a successful care regime.

He said: "We really want to speak to children and young people receiving their diagnoses of type 1 diabetes as soon as we can to make sure they begin thinking about their condition and what it means."

The doctor who is also a consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has developed Revolve Comics in a bid to help young people understand their condition through art.

He said: "Educating children at young ages about taking regular medicine, needles and a life-long condition can be very scary for them but through using fun and interactive mediums and appealing to them in different ways we can tap into their imagination and begin to educate them subtly."
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