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Black people ‘embarrassed’ by diabetes

TESTING TIMES: Blood sugar monitoring

BLACK PEOPLE are putting their health at risk by hiding diabetes because they are embarrassed about the condition, a new study has found.

Up to 50 percent of those surveyed said they kept the illness a secret, or had done so at one time, for fear their family, friends or colleagues would judge them. For white diabetes sufferers, the figure was 33 percent.

In their attempts to appear ‘normal’, black people would often miss insulin shots or delayed testing their blood glucose levels, putting themselves at risk of developing long-term complications like heart attacks, stroke, loss of eyesight, kidney failure and even limb amputation.

The findings were published by charity Diabetes UK as part of a national awareness week.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: “We have to ask why so many black people with diabetes keep it a secret. Learning to live with and managing diabetes is challenging enough without the physical and psychological impact of such a burden.

“It is hugely concerning that the health and well-being of so many people could be at risk as a result of discrimination or prejudice.”

African-Caribbean people are three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, but 23 percent of black patients said they were embarrassed about their condition and 19 percent feared they would be discriminated against or bullied.

Keeping the secret had a negative effect on their emotional and physical health, 22 percent admitted. And a further 34 percent of those surveyed in January and February this year wished for more support.

Young added: “There are 2.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK who need friends, family, employers and the public to understand how common diabetes is becoming and how serious it can be if people aren’t supported to manage their condition.”

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