Teens and Type 1 on ITV Good Morning Britain

A report was published recently suggesting that more young people are dying from diabetes (and diabetes related complications) in the UK than in any other country in the rest of Europe. The shocking statement comes with a warning that more needs to be done to tackle the condition and provide more support for those affected. Medical doctor Hilary Jones was interviewed this morning on the ITV program Good Morning Britain about the condition. If you didn't catch the feature, which you can watch again on ITV player, then this was my opinion of the interview.

I have to start off by saying that in the main, I think any interview that works to draw attention to the condition of diabetes and the struggle that we go through on a daily basis to maintain our health, is a good thing as long as it's done in the right way. Dr Hilary revealed that he has a son living with type 1 diabetes, whom although he didn't specify, sounded as though he was using an insulin pump to manage his diabetes. An insulin pump is a small mobile phone sized device that delivers insulin regularly through a needle under the skin connected to a tube, worn the skin 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week. In the interview it was highlighted that many teenagers with diabetes just want to be like their friends. That they don't want to be different and that they don't necessarily want to do all of the things that come with managing diabetes such as blood glucose measuring and giving insulin injections or administering insulin via the pump. Whilst I do agree that there may be some people that feel this way, I don't necessarily think that it's good to put all teenagers with type 1 diabetes in the same box. But it is good to identify that some may be struggling with teenage life and managing the condition. However, it must be noted that not doing the right amount of daily blood glucose tests and giving the right amount of insulin injections is never advisable and could have serious implications to health if neglected.

Dr Hilary identified in his interview that transitional diabetes care, for people between the ages of 15-24 years old is a key area for improvement within some areas of the healthcare system. This was something that I experienced myself during my teenage years. The paediatric care that I received from the diabetes specialist team at my local hospital was exceptional. However, the ethos in transitional diabetes care was very different. On my first day at the new 'transition clinic' I was told that I was "on my own now and needed to manage my diabetes independently". Later on during my time at the same clinic, I was also asked whether I "really needed to do sport?", because of the extra work involved in managing my diabetes alongside doing physical activity. Eventually I asked to leave that clinic and haven't looked back since, as the care in adult diabetes clinic has been exceptional.

The ITV presenters seemed quite interested in the story and asked questions about teenagers and young people living with and managing type 1 diabetes, and what they could be doing to manage their diabetes better. Obviously there was a lot of pressure on Dr Hilary to answer on TV, however I think it was not a great response to say that the majority of teenagers are only testing their blood glucose levels once a day. Especially when you consider the issues many people with type 1 diabetes have in getting hold of the right number of blood glucose from their GP. I know myself, that in order to manage my diabetes, enabling me to do sport, I need to test a minimum of 5 times per day if not more. Although I only got to watch an extract of the clip from the show, I think it would have also been good to identify the differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes. Also to have actually had a young person with type 1 on the show to be able to give their own perspective would have been good too. But all in all it was a good interview that was successful, in my opinion, at highlighting this key area of type one teens and diabetes.


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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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