An educational session on diabetes was held this week in a bid to help people better understand the illness, its symptoms and causes.
Diabetes Specialist Nurse Practitioners Julie Parker and Susan Edwards held a two-day course aimed at educating patients about diabetes.
The course was held on World Diabetes Day yesterday with some 10% of the local population diagnosed with diabetes.
The local statistic tops that of the UK and despite bad diet being an cause of diabetes other causes can be age and genetics. This means that some people are more prone to develop diabetes if their family members, in particular their parents have diabetes.
“The session is to help people understand their diabetes and manage it themselves,” Ms Parker said.
Ms Edwards added: “These sessions can also allay myths some patients may have of their diabetes and put them right on track.”
One of the patients benefitting from this session was Andrew Adams who was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago and had recently moved to Gibraltar.
Mr Adams said the course was helping him learn more about his condition.
“If we can get to people early we can prevent them from having further complications with their diabetes,” Ms Edwards said.
“If we give them the tools then we empower them to be able to control their diabetes.”
Ms Parker and Ms Edwards added they want to dispel the “blame culture” with diabetes.
They described how people with diabetes tend of blame themselves or others blame them for their bad diet.
“Many people think they’ve got diabetes because they have been eating too many chocolates when actually when they come to this session and learn about all the causes of diabetes they see there are some factors that they cannot modify,” Ms Edwards said.
These factors are age, family history and ethnicity.
“Moroccan people tend to have diabetes at a much younger age,” Ms Parker said.
“For Caucasians they are more likely to get diabetes at age 40 or above. For Moroccan people may are diagnosed at age 25 and above, and they are slim.”
“It’s a genetic predisposition that people from Asia, India, China and people from North Africa have.”
When one parent has diabetes, their offspring has a 35% chance of developing diabetes, Ms Edwards added.
But when both parents have diabetes the likelihood of developing it increases to 80%.
“We have identified families where all of the brothers and sisters have diabetes,” Ms Edwards said.
For more information on diabetes see page 11 of our print or e-edition where The Diabetes Gibraltar group shares ‘Anna’s story’ of a woman living with Type 2 diabetes.