CABBIE’S COMMENT: Ignorance is not bliss, it’s dangerous

PUBLISHED: 13:30 03 February 2018

Dave Humphrey

Dave Humphrey

Archant

Taking the coke bottle from my hand, my Doctor turned round and I followed him down the corridor towards his surgery. As he walked, head tilted down staring at the bottle, I said “you’re about to tell me I’m diabetic” he asked “how do you know?” I replied “you’re looking at the sugar content of that drink”.

Suddenly the impact of documentaries became very real, as did the long list of medical complications such as amputations, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure etc caused by this underlying condition. With just a little education the reality of headlines became very apparent “Huge rise in UK diabetes cases threatens to bankrupt NHS, charity warns”

First stop, the dietician for education, my expectation was to be lectured about my choc ices, banoffee pies, chocolate trifle etc, can’t imagine why I got type two, right! Well actually no, not exclusively, more time was spent discussing carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, potatoes, bread etc. I had absolutely no idea such things were so full of glucose and genuinely believed my plate full of biryani or mash potato was healthy eating!

Over the following four years, from conversations I have had in my taxi, it would appear my ignorance is not uncommon. Although there may be some who are fully aware that a plate of pasta can put as much sugar in the blood as a portion of trifle, a huge percentage of the population are not. Confirmed last week by a nurse I ran to the station.

Simple education (Specifically on types of carbohydrate and portion size, easily found online) and four years on I had the early Christmas present of my Diabetic nurse giving me the happy news type two diabetes has been removed from my records. However, with mind immediately screaming “YES, Christmas pudding is back on the menu”, the good tidings came with the strict instruction “you must keep doing what you have been doing”.

Awareness is the key. Evidence may suggest some people only take notice of such things when it’s too late! No, we don’t want a nanny state dictating our every decision but shouldn’t we get the choice awareness affords us? Educating people after being diagnosed is to lock the gate after the horse has bolted. Surely ignorance in this instance is not bliss; it’s dangerous to the individual and to the future of an already pressured NHS.

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