The name’s diabetes, type 1 diabetes – comic creates superhero adventures exploring stigma people with the condition may face
Type 1: S.T.I.G.M.A. is the third issue in the type 1 diabetes comic series. Here, the focus is on stigma and on the risk that can be posed to people with type 1 diabetes if blood sugar levels fall too low.
Revolve Comics have collaborated with Diabetes Specialists from Portsmouth and Southampton and people living with type 1 diabetes to create a comic series based on type 1 diabetes based on their understanding of the challenge of living with type 1 diabetes.
Different people respond to being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in different ways – some like to talk it through, with others preferring to read books and leaflets to learn more.
Inspired by the work of Stan Lee and how he engaged so many young people with comics that would explore many issues in a fun way, this series provides a means of spreading the type 1 diabetes message by using art.
A statement from Revolve Comics said: “It is our hope that these stories will inform and educate anyone who reads them. For those readers who are newly-diagnosed, they will hopefully feel more empowered to look after themselves if not already. It is possible to live a long, healthy life with type 1 diabetes.”
Dr Mayank Patel, Consultant in Diabetes, University Hospital Southampton and member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board, said: “Type 1 diabetes is not selective in whom it chooses to live with, reaching those from all backgrounds and all nations in equal measure.
“Whilst both types of diabetes can result in unstable blood sugar levels, there are some key differences that are not often fully appreciated by all. This has meant that people with type 1 diabetes are often judged and stigmatised, due to others not understanding that the way type 1 diabetes develops, or the need for lifelong insulin is not fully understood.
“The free to access online comic book series was produced in collaboration with Revolve, the Type 1 Origins series, co-created in the UK by diabetes consultants and individuals living with type 1 diabetes (myself and Professor Partha Kar, National Specialty Advisor for Diabetes with NHS England and Consultant in Diabetes and Endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust).”
Introduction to Type 1 Mission 3: S.T.I.G.M.A.
When mentioned, the word “diabetes” provokes a range of reactions and emotions from different people. Amidst the challenges of daily life, diabetes sadly also comes wrapped in a degree of stigma, regardless of the type. It is very obvious in our experience that type 1 diabetes - like all other forms of diabetes - does present many physical challenges in life, such as the constant need to monitor and respond to glucose levels accordingly, by adjusting insulin doses.
As a result, significant time is spent on daily decision making - often it’s the things that those without type 1 diabetes take for granted, such as eating, sleeping, working, exercising, being unwell, and driving. Understandably, these physical challenges can also impact on mental health. None of this is helped by flippant or inconsiderate comments made due to ignorance or in the form of a joke. Rarely does living with type 1 diabetes feel like a joke. In this episode, we meet Nathan - and it looks like our hero is in for busy few days.
We hope you enjoy being ‘shaken and stirred’ by our story and feel more informed afterwards about ‘walking a mile in the shoes’ of someone living with type 1 diabetes. It doesn’t take much to remember 2 simple key words; ‘Language Matters’. Happy reading!!
Stigma is an ugly word. It is our hope that here in our latest offering, ignorance around type 1 diabetes is challenged head on and persuades many to think before commenting from the sidelines… Only when we spread the right words, set the tone collectively and involve the right people can we all become ‘Guardians of the Glucose’…
Action on low blood glucose in type 1 diabetes
Though hypoglycaemia can be an issue in type 1 diabetes, there are ways in which it can be managed to help individuals live well. It is especially important that as well as those living with type 1 diabetes, those close to them and all healthcare professionals should also have awareness of the physical and psychological impact of hypoglycaemia.
Hypoglycaemia: The lowdown
Hypoglycaemia (or low sugar, ‘hypo’ for short) occurs when there is a mismatch between blood glucose (sugar) and blood insulin levels. As a result, glucose levels can fall low enough to present a risk to health. Left untreated, individuals can find themselves feeling unwell and becoming drowsy.
Read the full series of Diabetes Type 1 comics from Revolve here
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Sarah Tutton, Chief Executive of DRWF, said: “Research is the only way to find new treatments and a cure for diabetes. We have multi-year grant awards in place right now which we must do our utmost to honour and we must be able to react to ongoing applications that we receive for research work that could truly make a difference to the lives of people with diabetes.
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