Over a fifth of people think that people with diabetes cannot join the organ donation register, according to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK.
The YouGov survey of 2,334 adults revealed that 22 per cent of people incorrectly thought people with diabetes cannot join the register. In reality having a medical condition, such as diabetes, does not prevent a person from becoming an organ or tissue donor.
The survey revealed there are still lots of misconceptions about how having diabetes restricts people from doing things. More than one in 10 people (13 per cent) thought people with diabetes were not allowed to become a fire fighter, while almost a third of people (29 per cent) thought people with the condition cannot eat sweets.
In fact, people with diabetes can include treats such as sweets and chocolates in their diet, but like everyone else, they should ensure their overall diet is well balanced and healthy by eating less fat, sugar and salt and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. Some people with diabetes use sweets to raise their blood glucose levels if they fall too low.
The survey also contained some encouraging news, showing that 46 per cent of people did not think there was anything that people with diabetes would not be able to do.
The research has been released to mark the start of Diabetes Week, which this year is focused on dispelling the myth that having diabetes stops people living normal and happy lives. The theme for the week is ‘I can’, and Diabetes UK is encouraging people with diabetes to use social media to share their stories of living with the condition.
Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “We want this year’s Diabetes Week to focus on the positive stories of people overcoming the challenges of the condition and to celebrate those people who have changed ‘you can’t’ into ‘I can’.
“People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are all too often told ‘you can’t’. There are many myths surrounding diabetes that can get in the way, and the fact that many people still think that people with diabetes cannot join the organ register, eat sweets or become a firefighter shows that there is still a long way to go before we explode these myths.
“When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes hearing from other parents who had been through the same experience was an absolute lifeline to our family.
“There are around 173,000 people living in Wales who have the condition. They need to know that they can overcome the challenges they face with their diabetes and with the right support they can live life to the full.”
For more information about Diabetes Week visit www.diabetes.org.uk