Diabetes and The Casual Vacancy

If you've read the blog before, especially last summer, then you'll have noticed that I'm a massive Harry Potter fan... there, I've said it! So when I heard that the book the Casual Vacancy, which was written by the same author as the Harry Potter book series- J.K. Rowling, was going to be made into a TV series I couldn't wait to see it. The adaptation of the Casual Vacancy, which is a book for adults, was created for TV by the BBC and airs on a Sunday night at 9pm. This week was the second episode in the series and aired amongst controversy within the diabetes community, after it featured a poster in the background of a scene, about the condition.

To give you a bit of background the premise of the story of the Casual Vacancy is that the scene is set in an idyllic English village, where through not so idyllic circumstances a position becomes available on the parish council. In this episode the leader of the council (the same actor as plays Dumbledore in the later Potter films) visits the doctor to get his stomach sores checked, which according to his conversation with the plain speaking doctor, are there because he's apparently overweight. But it's what was displayed on the wall of the doctor's surgery that has caused such controversy amongst people with diabetes on social media. As the parish council leader sits on the examination bed, behind him there's a poster with a person in just their jeans, stomach bare with a tape measure around it. It's a poster that we quite often see within the diabetes community, but this time it was slightly different- the image was accompanied with the text 'Type 1 diabetes' and hence uproar ensued.

Type 1 diabetes is an arguably genetic condition, we're not quite sure what the root cause of it is. But you can be fairly certain that it is not obesity. It is important to state that not every episode of type 2 diabetes is caused by being overweight, but it is a known contributing factor of the condition. Hence why so many people with type 1 diabetes especially, found the poster controversial because there are many camps, although I'm not included in this, who believe that type 1 and type 2 diabetes should be called two different things, in order to stop the confusion. As people with type 1 diabetes can tend to suffer a bit of stereotypical bullying from people who don't know about the condition, asking if we got it because and I quote "we used to be fat", a completely inappropriate comment which ever type of diabetes you happen to have.

Whilst I would agree that the poster was a bit muddled up by using the head line type 1 diabetes and then going on to list the signs and symptoms and associated images of type 2. I also appreciate the fact that there has been an attempt by the set people to raise awareness of a condition, which in both forms is gripping the nation and when left undiagnosed can have serious implications. I also believe that the poster has served its purpose in getting us to talk about diabetes, which again can lead onto more awareness and more people being diagnosed, which in turn reduces the risk of complications in later life. We are all living with diabetes together regardless of which kind we have, so we should talk about it together and raise awareness too.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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