Did you get Diabetes because you ate too many sweets?

Last week has been a bit calmer on the job front but very interesting indeed. As I previously told you, I was modelling make up for Givenchy. This launch was for #daregivenchy, launching two new products. It was a great day and the other models were lovely. We all had a similar look, so you could see what they were going for. Everyone had the same hairstyle done with different make up looks. I don’t think my hair has ever been plaited any tighter than it was that day! I felt like I had undergone a mini facelift. Everyone looked amazing and I definitely looked very different to usual!

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The event went down really well and the catwalk felt amazing! I unfortunately, didn’t manage to get any pictures of it as I didn’t have my phone during the event. However, it was a huge cross with lights going up the sides, which was very striking. Doing the actual catwalk made me feel like a mini celebrity as there were so many press and cameras snapping and videoing away! Overall a great day. (If you search #dargivenchy on Instagram you might be able to see a few more pictures from the event.)

Now, onto the main point of my blog this week. Throughout my decade of being Diabetic, I have heard many odd questions and thoughts about Diabetes from various people. It becomes quite concerning when you weigh up how many people in the UK have Diabetes (3.5 million, with 500,000 having it who have no idea yet!) and how little people know about the actual facts. So I have drawn up a list of some facts to try and establish some truths and squash the falsities.

Diabetes Home Truths

1. Did you get Diabetes because you ate too many sweets?
My number one most hated question that I get asked, usually with a face of pity to accompany it. NO, I did not get diagnosed with Diabetes because I ate too many sweets. Type 1 Diabetes does not occur because of a high sugar intake. Currently, it isn’t 100% clear as to why people become diagnosed with Type 1, but they are thinking that it is connected to having some sort of virus which kills off your insulin production. Ironically, exactly a year before I was diagnosed I had a horrendous sickness virus which rendered me bed/sofa bound for a few days. Most Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis are brought on by being overweight and having an inactive and unhealthy lifestyle. You can help to prevent yourself from being diagnosed with Type 2 if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, however some cases are unpreventable. So, if you don’t already have Type 1, then I advise you keep active and eat well to avoid and lower your chances of being diagnosed with Type 2!

2. Do you have the good or the bad type of Diabetes?
There is neither a good or bad type of Diabetes. Diabetes is not to be taken lightly. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are just as serious as each other, both of which are potentially life threatening if they’re not controlled properly. Both Type 1 and Type 2 can lead to further unwanted complications such as; heart disease, stroke, amputations, blindness and kidney disease. So it is safe to say Type 1 and Type 2 are just as serious as each other.

3. You can’t have any sugar can you?
Yes, as a Diabetic it is heavily misunderstood that people assume because Diabetes is related to controlling your blood sugar (glucose) levels this means you cannot consume any sugar at all. This is false. If you cut out all sugar from your diet you would not only have an extremely limited diet (as an abundance of things contain sugar, even if just a tiny amount) but your body would eventually need some form of sugar. For Diabetics, you can eat whatever you want, as long as you inject correctly for it. It’s never good to have too much sugar in your diet full stop, but maintaining a healthy diet and having sugar within that is completely acceptable. It’s all about looking after yourself and making sure you are injecting the correct amounts of insulin for what you have eaten.

4. So, you do injections in your arm then?
No, I do not inject in my arm. I have known of some Diabetics who do inject their insulin in their arms, but it is highly advised that you do not do that. The best and most highly advised areas to inject are; the stomach, thighs and bum. This is because they are large surface areas with more range for movement sites for injections. It is important that you do not inject in the same place over and over again as this can cause hard lumps called lypos to form under the skin, which stops the insulin from passing through well enough and this effects your Diabetes control. (Lypos also do not look or feel particularly nice.) I have always injected in my stomach and move the injection site around to a new area every time.

5. Do you pass out when you do too much exercise?
Throughout my 10 years with Diabetes I have never passed out because of a Diabetic related issue. Exercising as a Diabetic is the same as for a non-Diabetic, you just have to think about a few extra things. It is essential that you do not exercise when you have low blood sugar (hypo) as that would be idiotic and potentially very dangerous. You need to make sure you have checked your blood sugar before you exercise and you should always carry a snack or glucose energy tablets just in case you need a boost. Like anybody, if you feel faint or ill whilst exercising, you should inevitably stop. As long as you are being sensible and taking your Diabetes into consideration, no, you should not pass out from doing exercise. Like anybody else, too much exercise is never recommended.

6. So, you can’t drink alcohol then either?
I am a massive wine fan and if I could never drink wine ever again, I would be severely disappointed! (However, saying that I have currently given up alcohol for lent, but more on that another time). You can absolutely drink alcohol as a Diabetic, but again, like anybody else, it should be in moderation. Alcohol is a bit of an odd one, I personally feel. For me, I do not inject for alcohol as it has a negative effect on my body. You have to think, the sugar in the alcohol will inevitably make your blood sugar levels rise, but the alcohol content brings your blood sugar down. If you go for a night out and are drinking a lot, it is highly recommended that you eat something before you go to bed, as this lowers the risk of you having a hypo during the night. I try to avoid particularly sugary alcoholic drinks anyway such as; alcopops, full fat mixers with spirits and cider. I know wine contains an ample amount of sugar, but my body knows how to react to wine consumption and I know how to correctly look after myself when drinking it. If you’re going to be drinking try and choose a diet mixer and spirit if you are unsure, as these are not only the lowest in sugar, but also the lowest in calories. Remember, just be careful and always eat something before you go to bed!

So, these are the main confusions that people tend to have in relation to Diabetes. If you want to know more about Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes check out https://www.diabetes.org.uk/ who have as much information as you could possibly need!

It is important that people know the correct facts about Diabetes and that it is not incorrectly conveyed. I was very pleased to hear that in June 2016 Diabetes UK launched a ‘Top Tips’ resource for scriptwriters and producers for how to correctly portray Diabetes in their stories and writing. As a Diabetic Actress this is fantastic news! There is nothing worse for me than watching Diabetes being portrayed incorrectly in a story line within a show. If you want to find out more you can read the resource here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/News/TV%20GUIDE%20FINAL.pdf

Let’s keep those facts straight and keep on going!

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