Children's Health Diabetes

Empowering people living with diabetes

Written by Health-e News

Diabetes patients treated at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital will benefit from advanced education and support at the hospital’€™s new ‘€œDiabetes Conversations Room’€.

Seventeen year-old Thabani Ncube,diagnosed with diabetes at the age of eight, is one of the first patients set to benefit from the opening of the room.

‘€œI had serious problems last year with my girlfriend when I told her that I am living with diabetes and I inject myself with insulin three times a day. She cried and we broke up. She broke my heart’€, says Thabani, clearly still sad.

‘€œSome people think you inflict pain on yourself by injecting yourself. She could not stand seeing me inject myself. She couldn’€™t even face me. She felt sorry for me’€, he says.

It is stories like Thabani’€™s that led to the creation of this new room at the tertiary hospital.

‘€œThe ‘€˜Diabetes Conversations Room’€™, is really about setting up an environment where we can take patients who haven’€™t always come from a good environment ‘€“ a supportive environment. It provides us with a better facility in which to build diabetes knowledge’€, explains Endocrinologist, Dr Raymond Segal.

‘€œThey (patients) will learn how to ask different questions and you can discuss different aspects of diabetes care’€, he adds.

Nurse and Diabetes Educator, Michael Brown argues that globally, diabetes has been a ‘€˜neglected epidemic’€™.

‘€œThe resources are not being thrown at the management of this condition’€, he says.

Outlining the need for intense patient training in diabetes he says that: ‘€œYou need extensive education for patients to understand what the management of risk is. There is a huge healthcare burden that is attributed to diabetes and it’€™s not being managed’€.

If untreated or not treated well, diabetes can lead to death, but Dr Segal says it’€™s a long and unpleasant process.

‘€œThe complications of having high blood sugar levels are the damage to the vessels in your body and those little blood vessels go to your eyes, your kidneys, your nerves and also affect the blood supply to other major organs like the heart’€, warns Dr Segal.  

Diabetes is a condition, where sugar is not used correctly to provide energy for living and growing. The person develops diabetes when their body does not produce a hormone called insulin. The hormone is produced by the pancreas and regulates sugar levels in the blood.

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Health-e News

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