Cheadle MP Mark Hunter ‘talks diabetes’ for Diabetes Week

June 20, 2011 8:47 AM

Mark at a Diabetes UK campaign event

Mark Hunter, MP for Cheadle, attended the Diabetes UK parliamentary event 'Let's Talk Diabetes' on Monday 13 June to support the leading health charity's aim of encouraging people to talk about their diabetes.

Results of a survey conducted by Diabetes UK for Diabetes Week (12 to 18 June) found nearly one million people[1] in the UK could be risking their health and experiencing emotional distress by keeping their diabetes a secret.

The survey found one in three people with diabetes (34 per cent) had, or were still, keeping their diabetes a secret. Worryingly, almost half of these people (49 per cent) felt that not talking about their diabetes had impacted on how they manage their condition and over a third (39 per cent) felt this had affected their physical or emotional health.

The charity has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on the government to take action to ensure the provision of emotional and psychological support as an integral part of a diabetes care package as a matter of priority.

Mark Hunter said: "There are 12,484 people diagnosed with diabetes in Cheadle who need friends, family, employers and the public to understand how common diabetes is becoming and how serious it can be if people aren't supported to manage their condition.

"I believe all people should receive enough support to help them manage their diabetes and that's why services such as the Diabetes UK Careline are so vital. Simply knowing you have someone to talk to when you need it most can make all the difference to help people better manage their diabetes and reduce their risk of developing devastating complications."

Barbara Young, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said: "We have to ask why so many people with diabetes keep it a secret. Learning to live with and managing diabetes is challenging enough without the physical and psychological impact of such a burden. It is hugely concerning that the health and well-being of so many people could be at risk as a result of discrimination or prejudice."

Over a quarter of people (27 per cent) had kept their condition a secret for fear of discrimination or bullying. These people were most likely to keep their diabetes a secret at work (59 per cent) however 56 per cent had also kept their diabetes a secret from their friends. Reasons for doing so included not wanting diabetes to affect employment chances or people assuming the condition developed as a result of an unhealthy diet.

Other key statistics from the survey include:

Diabetes UK is raising awareness of the importance of talking about diabetes during Diabetes Week and is aiming to raise £200,000 throughout the week to expand its Careline - a vital service providing information and emotional support to anyone experiencing emotional distress, anxiety, depression and other difficulties related to diabetes. This will provide more support by reducing the cost of a call to Careline, extending its opening hours, introducing in-depth counselling services and employing more staff to answer queries.

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