Diabetes UK Cymru: 'Local Woman Backs New Campaign on World Diabetes Day '

This World Diabetes Day (14 November), Cardiff athlete Melanie Stephenson is backing a new 
national campaign highlighting the importance of diabetes education. Diabetes UK Cymru’s new Taking Control campaign highlights the huge difference diabetes education courses can make. According to the charity most people with diabetes only spend around three hours a year with their healthcare professional. For the remaining 8,757 hours they themselves are managing their condition, which is why it is vital they are armed with the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes well.

Diabetes education courses can help people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes take better control of 
their condition, giving them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives. Melanie, who is now 27, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that has nothing to do with being overweight. This means that she has to balance her diet and exercise with taking continuous insulin doses administered by a pump. She has attended a DAFNE education course, given by her local diabetes dietitian. She said: “Despite my best efforts, my diabetes control wasn’t where it needed to be before I attended a diabetes education course and switched from taking multiple daily insulin injections to having a pump, which gives me regular doses throughout the day. Going on the education course revolutionized the way I looked 
after my diabetes.

“I now know how to balance my diabetes management with nutrition and exercise, this is especially important as being an athlete is a big part of my life. I can look at a plate of food and work out the right amount of insulin I will need to take after eating it, something I wouldn’t have been able to do before. It has made the world of difference and I want everyone with diabetes to have the chance to go on an education course and take control of their diabetes.” 

Diabetes UK Cymru is concerned that health boards across Wales are falling short of Welsh Government targets as currently only 3 per cent of people with Type 1 diabetes and 1 per cent of 
people with Type 2 diabetes in Wales are recorded as attending a structured education course. 
The charity is calling on Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to make sure they are providing 
enough education for the 23,000 people living with the diabetes in the area. 

Diabetes UK Cymru’s National Director Dai Williams said: “Being diagnosed with diabetes is like 
being given the keys to a car without ever having a driving lesson. This is why we want every 
person diagnosed with diabetes in Wales to have the tools and knowledge to manage their diabetes well.

“We are urging Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to make sure they are giving people living 
with diabetes in their area access to courses that can change their lives for the better. People who 
have just been diagnosed with diabetes or who have been living with the condition for some time, 
can find it difficult to successfully manage the condition. But by attending a diabetes education 
course, they can feel empowered to take control and manage their condition with confidence. 
“There is strong evidence that when people with diabetes are equipped with the knowledge and 
skills to manage their condition effectively, they can improve their quality of life. They can also 
reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications, such as kidney disease, stroke and 
amputation. These are not only personally devastating, but also expensive to treat. Diabetes costs 
the NHS in Wales £500 million a year, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing avoidable 
complications. But by giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively, 
we can reduce their long-term risk of complications and reduce the cost burden on the NHS.
“We have launched our Taking Control campaign to highlight the importance of good quality 
diabetes education. We want to encourage everyone with diabetes in the area to go and ask their 
healthcare professional for information about a diabetes education course. The campaign also 
calls on the NHS to make sure that everyone with diabetes has access to the education and 
support they need to manage their diabetes well. Everyone with diabetes should have access to 
education from the moment of diagnosis and then throughout their lives." 

The ‘Taking Control’ campaign has been launched this week ahead of World Diabetes Day on 
Saturday 14 November. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakingControl.
To find out more about going on an education course, speak to your GP or healthcare 
professional. To find out more about the Taking Control campaign and to take action to ensure 
everyone with diabetes has access to diabetes education, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/taking-

Me at the BBC Health and Wellness Exhibition Recently


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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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