The Severity of My Illness

I am constantly reminded of the severity of diabetes in the media.

In the past, I haven’t often worried about my diabetes and it’s impact on my long term health. I am finding, however, that as my diabetes is getting older and I am taking more of an interest in my health (cue this blog), things are changing. During restless nights on the couch or in bed, I do find myself thinking about how my body is handling unpleasant blood sugar swings. Can it handle them? And for how much longer?

I’m sure I’m scaring myself silly. But as I’m reading through some confronting statistics in Diabetes Australia’s Insulin Pump Therapy in Australia: The Case for Actionthe severity of the very disease that I live with hits home.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes in Australia has grown at a rate of 30% in the past decade, and there are over 3,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes every year.

High average hba1c levels are a strong indicator of the risk of developing long term diabetes complications.

The annual cost of type 1 diabetes to the Australian health system is $570 million, and the average cost per person is $4,669.

Finally, some people with type 1 diabetes cannot achieve optimal blood glucose control without the use of diabetes technology.

Sure, those haunting statistics aren’t intentionally targeted at me. Diabetes is rather an invisible condition. A lot of the people around us don’t see, or realise what we go through day by day in order to stay alive. As one of my readers, Maria, pointed out last week, sometimes we have to get serious in order to get our point across to those people who matter (politicians anyone?).

Yet, in spite of all of these factors, there are still so many barriers in Australia that prohibit us from doing what we are told to do.

The NDSS only subsidises around 5 test strips per day.

Potentially life changing Continuous Glucose Monitors are out of reach for many, as they are costly and not currently subsidised by the Australian government.

There are so many barriers to insulin pumping in Australia. Cost. Location. Income. Ability to afford private health insurance. Availability of health care professionals.

I also feel that more could be done to encourage diabetes technology, social media and other innovations in d-management. If you are a part of the Diabetes Online Community on Twitter, you’ll find a lot of enthusiastic insulin pumpers and CGM users. You’ll find a lot of engaged, passionate people who are always willing to provide helpful advice and friendly support. You’d be hard pressed not to be inspired and motivated by such an amazing community of people.

But thinking about my own journey prior to finding the diabetes community, the sad reality is that DOC is probably not representative of the entire diabetes population.

That, in my opinion, is the severity of this illness.

Finally, please wish Rodger Federer best of luck in tonight’s Australian Open Semi Final!