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But for those living with, or at risk from, a disease which affects millions of people globally, it’s no laughing matter.

And as social platforms lit up this week with jokers making comments connecting chocolate over-indulgence with this serious health condition, Dr Gareth Nye from the University of Chester, wanted to shed light on the true causes of diabetes, and explain why that joke isn’t funny.

In his latest blog, Dr Nye, Lecturer of anatomy and physiology at Chester Medical School, discusses what causes diabetes is and how serious it can be, detailing its possible treatments, and explaining that not only is eating ‘too much’ chocolate not a cause of diabetes but in some circumstances could actually be used to treat it.

“Easter has become all about indulgence with chocolate eggs and sweet treats being seen in shops from New Year,” says Dr Nye.

“However, what also comes around annually are the jokes from high profile people linking indulgence and sweets with a serious condition called diabetes. This year we saw these jokes being publicised by a TV personality with over a million followers on Twitter.”

Diabetes, particularly type 1, is a serious lifelong condition affecting around 400,000 people in the UK – one of the highest rates in the world – and this rate is increasing by between 4 and 5% every year.

In 85% of cases there’s no family history and people of all ages can be affected.

A type 1 diabetic will expect to face around 65,000 injections of insulin in their lifetime and test their blood around 80,000 times.

The subject is particularly important for Dr Nye as in November 2018, his then one-year-old daughter, Gracie, was rushed to hospital in a semi-comatose state following a short illness. She was diagnosed as Type 1 diabetic within 15 minutes and put on a drip of insulin overnight.

Dr Nye said: “In the three years since she has adapted to her condition and made it her own, and despite our ups and downs, Gracie is completely on top of her diabetes and thriving.”

“She still has at least six injections of insulin a day and we as her carers are still constantly watching her for lows, however her blood sugar monitor has revolutionised her management, even if we are still getting up most nights to give her fruit juice.

“She is not afraid of telling anyone that she is diabetic and that her pancreas doesn’t work. If you’re lucky, she may even show you her ‘butt button’ – the Dexcom, blood glucose monitor attached to her bum. Most importantly, she sat down on Easter Sunday and tucked into her chocolate eggs with her siblings like most other children in the UK.”

Dr Nye added: “The thing is, jokes are often seen as harmless, however they can perpetuate the stigma and misunderstanding of serious conditions, in this case diabetes.

“I feel it is important to share the real causes and consequences of diabetes and to share how it impacts on our family in particular, in a hope that we can educate and inform people the next time misinformation is used to gain a few laughs!”

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Chester Medical School Dr Gareth Nye diabetes