Keith Vaz: my story with diabetes
Real Stories My personal interest in diabetes is a simple story. My family has a history with this condition but despite this, awareness of diabetes was very low in my family. Had I understood this life changing condition better, I may have paid more attention and realised I was a risk.
In the end I was diagnosed with diabetes by pure chance. In 2007 at a diabetes awareness event run by my local GP in Leicester, I volunteered to be tested for diabetes, without thinking for a minute that the test would be positive. In hindsight, I should have seen this coming having experienced symptoms for years without realising their significance.
Since my diagnosis, diabetes has become my passion. It is absolutely clear that we need to increase awareness and education of diabetes. If we invest in education now, the long term savings will far surpass the initial cost. Prevention is always better than treatment. This is why Diabetes Awareness Week is so important. It is an opportunity to engage with the community, identify those who may be at risk and increase awareness of a dangerous condition.
Alongside personal campaigns, I also chair the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes. The Group is currently conducting an inquiry into how we can improve standards and reduce variations in diabetes care. So far we have heard from patients about their experiences accessing care and life-changing technology. The barriers to care and technology that patients face are inexcusable and cuts to NHS funding are having a significant impact. The status quo is simply not acceptable.