World Health Day takes place on 7th April 2016 and this year’s theme is diabetes. This is a highly relevant theme for people with mental health problems, as there is a direct link between mental ill-health and diabetes.
Many people with mental health problems are at a higher risk of developing diabetes. Physical health complications are a common cause of having a diagnosed mental health condition.
However, diabetes is treatable and if you have a mental health condition, it is imperative you talk to your community mental health team about having regular health checks to check for signs of conditions such as diabetes.
In 2008, an estimated 347 million people in the world had diabetes and the prevalence is growing, particularly in low and middle-income countries.
Diabetes is a disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, gives us the energy that we need to live. If it cannot get into the cells to be burned as energy, sugar builds up to harmful levels in the blood.
There are 2 main forms of the diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes typically make none of their own insulin and therefore require insulin injections to survive. People with type 2 diabetes, the form that comprises some 90% of cases, usually produce their own insulin, but not enough or they are unable to use it properly.
A large proportion of diabetes cases are preventable. Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. Maintaining normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of diabetes.
As ever, the issue comes back to improving one’s mental wellbeing as well as physical health through healthy eating and regular exercise to prevent such conditions from taking hold. Anything from small changes in diet, eating more protein in meals such as oily fish and eating lots of green vegetables, to improving fitness through joining a gym or taking up swimming, for example.
This World Health Day, let’s all focus on our health and wellbeing and keep abreast of regular physical health checks to avoid developing such conditions or to spot them and take charge in self-management to arrest the disease.
Our Recovery College Greenwich has been running a series of Expert Patient Programme courses on managing diabetes for students. If you receive a diagnosis of diabetes it is vital you liaise with your GP and health professionals over expert training in self-management of the condition.
Our mental health support workers can provide clients with health and wellbeing advice and support to improve diet and exercise regimes, as well as emotional support should a client develop the condition of diabetes.
Bridge is committed to promoting health and wellbeing in our staff and clients and will do all it can to raise awareness of health issues and implement ways in which to improve our wellbeing.
Bridge offers support to anyone suffering from mental health illnesses. We have programs that will improve your wellbeing.
Contact us at Bridge to find out more.