Beware the silent assassin

I saw recently that Diabetes UK has launched a hard-hitting new campaign. Now, I understand perfectly the importance of raising awareness of diabetes and the danger it presents, but was there genuinely a need to represent diabetes as a hovering, killer shade? This has to be one of the most terrifying public awareness advertisements I have ever seen. I thought diabetes was a fairly common disorder that with early detection could be managed with diet and drugs, but no, apparently it’s more like being stalked by your own private Dementor.

I can only assume the posters were designed by the same people responsible for promoting Saw. I wonder if this ridiculous approach will catch on. You never know, the British Heart Foundation could be preparing a series of ads starring the chest-burster from Alien at this very moment.

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2 Responses to “Beware the silent assassin”

  1. I am responding to several points/comments that you have raised. There are many, many people with type 2 diabetes who do not realise that they have diabetes and only find out later after they have developed complications of the kidneys or had a heart attack or have developed serious diabetic eye disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in populations of working age. Raised blood glucose levels are extremely toxic to the cells in the body and kill people with type 2 slowly over years. It is extremely difficult to manage diabetes. It’s certainly not something that is easily managed with diet and drugs for many people.

    Type 1 diabetes has a completely different cause and is unrelated to the causes of type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition for which there is no cure or prevention and 95% of children who have diabetes have type 1. Type 1 diabetes is always treated with daily injections of insulin or an insulin pump. Usually more that four injections a day on modern insulin regimens. Though the onset of type 1 diabetes in children starts months before the diagnosis the situation reaches a crisis as more and more of the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed. Unfortunately many children and some adults with type 1 diabetes die or go into DKA each year because the diagnosis has been missed by doctors who do not realise the acute symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

    Diabetes management in children is extremely difficult as so many things affect the blood glucose levels, food, exercise, stress, emotion and the amount of insulin injected. Getting the insulin dose right is a very difficult balance and every single gram of carb has to be covered by insulin. Too much insulin and your child could have a serious hypo and have a seizure with fatal consequences. Insulin is given in very tiny amounts and getting this right with so many variables is very difficult. Insulin is a hormone and is one of the drugs with the highest incidence of adverse events. Nothing else comes close, and yet parents and people with type 1 diabetes have to struggle everyday to achieve this fine balance. Many people think that all people with diabetes have to do is to avoid sugar!! But anything that contains carbohydrate, like potatoes, rice, bread, fruit etc all contains carbs which cause the blood glucose levels to rise if there is not enough insulin in the body.

    So, in some way your description of your own “Private Dementor” is very apt.
    What is wrong with the campaign in my opinion, is that there is no mention of the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and unfortunately the message that you can “beat diabetes” by going to Diabetes UK website and reading a few links is insulting and very unhelpful to people with type 1 diabetes. You cannot “beat type 1 diabetes” one can only alter the odds of developing deadly complications. These posters have not done their job if you still have the impression that diabetes is a condition managed with drugs and diet and is no big deal.

    All children their families and people with type 1 diabetes are shadowed by their own Private Dementors.

    JDRF are doing their best to find a cure but need more funding to do this. These posters are more likely to make people think that diabetes is minor treatable condition. It is not.

  2. thebigsmoke Says:

    Well, that’s lightened the mood.

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