Our guide to diabetes

Our guide to diabetes

First published date April 02 2014 Amended date May 28 2014

Around 2.9m people across the UK suffer from a form of diabetes and it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands more have it but don’t know it. Diabetes has become a growing healthcare concern not only in the UK but globally also with the rise in obesity rates being part of the blame for the rise in type 2 diabetes figures.

To put it simply, diabetes comes in two forms; type 2 diabetes, the more common of the two and then type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is where the body doesn’t use insulin effectively and type 1 is where none is produced at all. A diabetes course could help you then if you have received the unfortunate diabetes diagnosis yourself or you are working or looking to work with diabetic people.


The cause of diabetes

Understanding the difference between the two common types of diabetes can be difficult at first. In Layman’s terms, type 1 diabetes is more common among children and its causes are unknown. There is no cure as of yet and it is required to be treated daily with insulin. Type 2 diabetes is linked heavily with obesity and is preventable if you change your dietary and lifestyle habits. A diabetes course will help you understand the forms of diabetes and how best to look after yourself if you have been diagnosed as diabetic or are caring for other people who have been.

There is also another form called gestational diabetes. This occurs in pregnant women when their insulin receptors don’t work properly causing high blood sugar levels. Diabetes only affects between 2% to 5% of women giving birth in England and Wales with gestational making up most of that. It tends to disappear after the baby is born but the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes in later life is higher.


What kinds of diabetes courses are there?

There are varying types of diabetes courses just as there are different kinds of diabetes. Courses can range from just a simple diabetes awareness course to courses which focus on caring for diabetic children or the elderly.

Diabetes awareness, for example, will show you how to deal with the condition and is suitable if you have just been diagnosed with it or you are caring for a diabetic person or persons. These kinds of courses will take you through the basics of what diabetes is all about and how it affects your everyday life. If you’re caring for someone, they will show you what the best foods for them to eat are and what signs to look out for if they are about to go into a hypoglycaemic (or hypo) attack.

For courses which specialise in caring for children with diabetes, focus will be more on the type 1 variety of diabetes, which is usually seen in the young people. When caring for adults or the elderly, it’s likely that you will be working with people who have developed type 2 diabetes over their lifetime.

Some courses are just for awareness of the condition whereas other offer professional qualifications, ranging from level 2 to level 4 NCFEs. These are useful qualifications if you are working in a care home or are caring for people in any type of setting.


What will I learn?

An awareness course will show how having diabetes affects your life if you’re a sufferer, and what foods to eat and which ones to avoid, as well as exercises you can do to help manage it.

If you take a course in caring for elderly people with diabetes you’ll be shown the basic complications of the condition and how to identify any other problems. You’ll also get to know the dietary and nutritional needs of the people you care for and how best to deal with a diabetic related emergency, more than likely a hypoglycaemic attack.

Courses for those caring for diabetic children will have largely the same approach as for the elderly and adults, as in how to realise certain complications and care for their needs, but of course the likely difference in the form of diabetes and the needs for the children will make it quite different in actual content.


Diabetes facts

-          As of 2013, around 347 million people across the globe suffer from a form of diabetes.

-          Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases.

-          Type 1 diabetes is more common in children though the obesity linked type 2 is on the up among the young.

-          According to Diabetes UK figures, the amount of people with diabetes in the UK more than doubled from 1996 to 2012 (1.4 million to 2.9 million).

-          They also estimate that figure to rise to around the 5 million mark by 2025.