Eastbourne woman backs diabetes education campaign

Tamarra Neill

Tamarra Neill

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An Eastbourne woman is backing a new national campaign highlighting the importance of diabetes education.

Diabetes UK’s new ‘Taking Control’ campaign highlights the huge difference diabetes education courses can make. These courses can help people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes take better control of their condition, giving them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives.

Tamarra Neill, 25, a trainee children’s teacher, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10 years old after experiencing some of the classic symptoms such as constant thirst and going to the loo more frequently.

Tamarra attended the Skill for Adjusting Diet and Insulin (SADIE) which is a local education programme for people with Type 1 diabetes. The course runs over five days over a five week period and offers participants an opportunity to gain knowledge and learn skills to confidently self-manage their diabetes with no food limitations or restrictions on their daily activities.

She said, “The course enabled me to have a more level playing field with my blood sugar control. I am not fluctuating as often as previously, and it’s also enabled me to indulge in treats. The SADIE course taught me that I was able to eat when I felt hungry not always when my next insulin injection was due as well as not having to eat so many snacks, even when I wasn’t hungry just because of the level of insulin I was on meant I had to eat a set amount at set times no matter what.

“I am now able to alter my insulin levels accordingly to what I eat, what activity I am doing, when I’m poorly and even having a simple correction dose if I have misjudged my carbohydrate intake instead of waiting for my next structured injection. I also have a better awareness of how my body reacts to the insulin and what levels I need at set times of the day and to the carbohydrate levels, as well as what correction dose level I need when high or ill.”

Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK South East Regional Manager at Diabetes UK, said, “Those who have just been diagnosed with diabetes or who have been living with the condition for some time, can find it difficult to get their heads around how to successfully manage the condition. But by attending a diabetes education course, they can instead feel empowered to take control and manage their condition with confidence.

“There is strong evidence that when people with diabetes are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their condition effectively, they can improve their quality of life. They can also reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications, such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation. These are not only personally devastating, but also expensive to treat. Diabetes costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing avoidable complications. But by giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively, we can reduce their long-term risk of complications and reduce the cost burden on the NHS.

“We have launched our Taking Control campaign to highlight the importance of good quality diabetes education. We want to encourage everyone in Eastbourne who is living with diabetes to go and ask their healthcare professional for information about a diabetes education course. The campaign also calls on the NHS to make sure that everyone with diabetes has access to the education and support they need to manage their diabetes well. Everyone with diabetes should have access to education from the moment of diagnosis and then throughout their lives.”

There are more than 9,500 of people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford area.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakingControl.

To find out more about going on an education course, speak to your GP or healthcare professional. To find out more about the Taking Control campaign and to take action to ensure everyone with diabetes has access to diabetes education, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/taking-control

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