Each day is a step we make towards eternity and we shall continue thus to step from day to day until we take the last step, which will bring us into the presence of God – Catherine McAuley
Diabetes is the largest and fastest growing health issue in New Zealand, with one in every 19 Kiwis diagnosed with the condition and many more unaware that they have it. Diabetes doesn’t have outward visible signs, so you may not be aware that your friends or colleagues even have diabetes.
This month is Diabetes Awareness Month running under the banner Act Now to Live Well! Diabetes NZ is using their awareness month to bust the myths about diabetes by looking at how common misconceptions and judgement can affect people living with diabetes. The campaign will encourage all New Zealanders to learn more about diabetes and how to support those living with diabetes in their whānau or community.
They are also challenging Kiwis to take action – to live well through healthy eating, regular physical activity and establishing a support network to create better habits together:
The program is based around research findings about diabetes which has shown that the perceptions and stigma around diabetes can prevent people from seeking help, support and treatment. The research reveals that most Kiwis with diabetes encounter negative attitudes that add to the stress of their condition. This negativity and prejudice places a further burden on people who already face the difficult challenge of managing the physical aspects of their condition every day as well as its emotional burden. Given this stigma exists, many people with diabetes don’t tell others they have the condition and this in turn leads to potentially not getting the help they need in a medical emergency.
So, if you or your friends or whānau might have diabetes, the message is don’t hide away but offer support and encouragement to face the challenges together.