Post 2 by Lucy Allen
Inspired by the research that led me into the world of Diabetes and what constitutes ‘healthy’, I was driven to probe further into these areas. I came across ‘The National Diabetes Strategy and Action Plan’, published in 2013 previous to the Federal Election and written by a number of experts in the field of Health and Diabetes. All authors of the article belong to a credible organisations such as ‘The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute’ or hold a prominent position such as President of the Australian Diabetes Society, making this publication extremely credible. The purpose of this article is to provide the incoming Australian Government with a ‘clear framework for a new national strategy for diabetes and a five year action plan’. Whilst all authors have been published in medical journals previously this is the first article of its kind written by this particular collection of experts.
This factual, evidence-based article outlines the previous actions taken by The Australian Government, both successful and non-successful. I was shocked by the number of failed attempts and false promises made by the Australian Government in relation to Diabetes; our nation has never seen a successful National Diabetes strategy and action plan.
NSW’s lack of progress is put to shame in contrast to Victoria’s ‘Life! Program’ that helps prevent Diabetes, Heart attacks and Stroke. It has seen in it’s time a phenomenal 30% reduction in risk. If Victoria can have such success in implementing such a strategy, why can’t we expand this nationally? It is fantastic to see this article not only outline the issues present but also propose solutions. Five overarching goals are detailed, the most promising of which being to ‘Strengthen prevention, care and cure through knowledge and evidence’, something I believe is at the core of allowing Diabetes and those living with Type 1 Diabetes to be better understood.
There is little biased present in this article with all claims backed by research and statistics from previous and current studies. Opinion is present in statements such as, ‘The seriousness of Diabetes is often underestimated. There is no such thing as “mild” Diabetes’. Statements such as these whilst opinion based are still important, revealing the prejudices and misunderstanding throughout society. This article gives me hope that after all the failed attempts made by the Australian Government that there are still people out there who push for this epidemic and disease to be recognised and understood.
Now comes the really honest part…
Critically analysing articles about a disease I myself live with day in and day out I guess it was inevitable that I’d end up critically analysing my own views and having to be honest with myself. A research paper published by the Stento Diabetes Centre in Denmark sought to ‘explore the functions of peer support from the perspectives of adults with Type 1 Diabetes’. The study was undertaken and recorder by three experts in the field of Diabetes from the institute, resulting in a soundly researched, quantified and revolutionary study. As one of the first studies to explore patient perspectives on the function of peer support for people living with Type 1 Diabetes, it’s the first time I have come across a discussion of many of the issues and experiences talked about in this paper.
The article is extremely factual whilst also referencing the responses of participants, a diverse group of individual all living with Type 1 Diabetes. As I read this article I became more and more aware of just how much of what was being said I could empathise with. Statements made by individuals articulate the many internal struggles people living with disease have, from social exclusion to misunderstanding, all ringing true. A statement made by a participant about having to ‘make your own experiments on how to live well with Diabetes’ was particularly thought provoking. This is something I really do struggle with, the constant and tiring mental dialogue of trying to balance the unbalanceable, trying to do right not wrong and with you, the only listener.
“If there was more recognition in our society, that there is also a lot going on in your head when you get the disease, it would be a lot easier to talk about. I mean the majority of people seem to be of the opinion that as long as you get your injection you’ll be fine…but it’s not quite like that” – Anonymous Participant
This study concludes the importance for Type 1 Diabetics to be able to talk about their chronic disease, not in a medical way but in a social, every-day manner. Diabetes has its own language and to be able to communicate with other Diabetics is a relief and comfort. This article has changed the way I think by enlightening me to the experiences of other Diabetics and reporting on the findings of this important study.
I don’t write this for you to feel sorry for me or to make you feel as if you need to suddenly research all there is to know about Diabetes. I write this because it is now so much more than just a research and blog task. I know this post is very much over the word limit but it is providing me with the drive and passion to know more, to research further, to advocate for change and to get to know myself and my relationship with Diabetes a little better. It’s daunting but I’m jumping in feet first.
Diabetes Australia, 2013, ‘A National Diabetes Strategy and Action Plan’, viewed 11th of August 2016, <http://static.diabetesaustralia.com.au/s/fileassets/diabetes-australia/e549bdb8-of80-46f8-b827-35cb4f1bcd2.pdf>
Joensen, L., Filges, T., Willaing, I., 2016, ‘Patient Perspectives on Peer Support or Adults with Type 1 Diabetes”: A Need for Diabetic-specific Social Capital’, Health Promotions Research, Stento Diabetes Centre. vol. 10, pp. 1443 – 1451.
Notes On Design., 2015, ‘Too Many Hands’, Pinterest, viewed 10th of August 2016, <https://au.pinterest.com/pin/540502392761523634/>
Zimmer, P., Colaaiuri, S., Gunston, J., Aylen, T., Johnson, G., 2013, ‘A National Diabetes Strategy and Action Plan’, Diabetes Australia, pg. 1 – 17.
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