Theresa May has opened up about living with Type 1 diabetes, revealing that she injects herself with insulin up to five times a day.
In a live broadcast, the Prime Minister told ITV News viewers that they shouldn’t let a diagnosis hold them back in life.
“The crucial thing to me is being a diabetic doesn’t stop you from doing anything,” she said.
There are currently 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK, roughly 10% of which suffer from Type 1 diabetes.
The condition occurs when the pancreas stops producing any insulin. This means that the glucose levels in the blood become too high, because the body cannot use it properly.
Unfortunately, because it is an immune problem which can be triggered by various factors such as the environment and viruses, it is not possible to prevent Type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms usually develop very quickly and include: feeling incredibly thirsty, urinating more than usual (especially at nighttime), feeling tired and losing weight.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of childhood diabetes, according to Diabetes UK. However it can also develop in adults, usually before they hit 40.
“The only way to treat it is to take insulin daily – through an injection or a pump you wear all the time,” Libby Dowling, clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, previously told HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
“Once you have it, you have it for life.”
Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, chief medical officer for Bupa, highlights the importance of a quick diagnosis.
“Long-term complications of Type 1 diabetes develop gradually, over years,” he told HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
“High glucose levels can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs. This is why, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you need to look after your health very carefully.
“We should all try to eat healthily, exercise regularly and not smoke or drink too much alcohol. But for those with Type 1 diabetes, making healthy lifestyle choices is even more important.”
Diabetes UK offer 10 dietary tips for people with Type 1 diabetes:
1) Eat three meals a day to help keep your blood glucose levels in check.
2) At each meal include starchy carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, chapatis, potatoes, noodles, rice and cereals.
3) Cut down on the fat you eat, particularly saturated fats, as a low fat diet benefits health.
4) Eat more fruit and vegetables.
5) Include more beans and lentils in your diet.
6) Aim for at least two portions of oily fish a week.
7) Limit sugar and sugary foods.
8) Reduce salt intake to 6g or less a day.
9) Drink alcohol in moderation.
10) Don’t use diabetic foods or drinks.