Recent statistics released by the International Diabetes Federation reveal shocking revelations that should be making front page news, stopping each and every one of us in our tracks – diabetes kills more people in South Africa than HIV, TB and malaria combined! Why? Because 1 in 2 people with diabetes is undiagnosed.
“Luckily, the solution is actually fairly simple: make an annual blood sugar test the norm,” says Bridget McNulty, co-founder of Sweet Life Diabetes Community and recognised voice of diabetes in South Africa. “Getting your blood sugar checked is a simple fingerpick test with immediate results. If it turns out you’re at risk of developing diabetes, the sooner you find out, the easier it is to manage.” If Type 2 diabetes is caught early enough, it is completely reversible.
So why are so many people dying from it? This article reported that the leading cause of death in Cape Town is diabetes. Why? Because undiagnosed diabetes leads to amputation, blindness, heart disease and kidney failure, then death.
“We need to make everyone aware of diabetes,” explains Bridget, a Type 1 diabetic since 2007. “Which is why we’re launching a nationwide campaign this November, for National Diabetes Month.”
The campaign will include an interactive map clearly showing all free blood sugar testing facilities offered in SA throughout the month of November. Working with the National Department of Health, local DoH offices and the HSRC, Sweet Life aims to make it as easy as possible for every South African to get their blood sugar checked.
“We have all kinds of information and advice to share about living well with diabetes,” she says. “But the first step is getting your blood sugar checked.”
Bridget McNulty is a published author, editor and creative director. She co-founded Sweet Life in 2011 to show that it’s possible to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes, and has been the voice for diabetes in South Africa ever since, speaking about the condition on radio, TV, online and in print.
Sweet Life is an inspiring diabetes community for Diabetic South Africans. They are a registered NPO with a single focus: to improve diabetes in South Africa. Their goal is to inform, inspire and connect people, offering reliable advice on all you need to know about diabetes, support people with diabetes and share that just because you have diabetes, doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy, healthy life.
a registered NPO (220-984), their goals are to improve the diagnosis
number in SA (at the moment 1 in 2 people with diabetes are undiagnosed)
and improve the health of people with diabetes. Sweet Life want to do
this by encouraging healthier eating, medication compliance and
increased physical activity in ways that really work: actionable ways to
live well with diabetes. Up till now they have believed that if you
give people information in the right format and the right words, they
will change their behaviour. But this is not actually true. We need to
focus on behavioural change because information is not enough.
By working directly with people with diabetes in South Africa, Sweet Life will be able to get a better understanding of the current status of diabetes in SA, and where the problems actually lie. And then they can work to start fixing them.
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