This month is Diabetes Action Month and HPF is encouraging Aotearoa to take action to understand and support Kiwis living with diabetes and to learn more about the disease in their whanau and community. Diabetes NZ has sounded the challenge to ‘love not judge’ and ‘wear your hearts on your sleeve for diabetes’ as the disease is more than just a physical condition, it can affect mental and emotional wellbeing too. This was revealed in an Emotional Health Survey last month, in which over 1000 New Zealanders with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes participated. This was the first time the emotional burden of diabetes had been surveyed in New Zealand. HPF’s Dr Viliami Puloka, who has a special interest in Diabetes and obesity, says diabetes is preventable and can even be reversed or cured with medication and other medical treatments. Dr Puloka stresses however that healing the whole person is not possible unless we stop judging and start loving. “Diabetes, obesity, suicide drug addictions and others are symptoms of a sick society,” he points out. “The root causes are socio-economic, political and cultural with the individuals feeling powerless and unable to make healthy choices. “Let us love not judge. We can begin in the way we look at and speak about and to people with diabetes- that is wearing our hearts at our sleeves. Diabetes NZ CEO Heather Verry says the distress related to Covid-19 has been even more acute for the quarter of a million people living with diabetes in New Zealand. “With one global pandemic in full swing, it’s important not to lose sight of the other pandemic facing New Zealanders – diabetes. Our survey shows that 45 per cent of Kiwis with diabetes experienced more diabetes distress as a result of Covid-19. Fourteen per cent experienced increased discrimination or stigma, and 24 per cent were diagnosed with a new health disorder,” she says. World Diabetes Day, which is on November 14, has the theme ‘Nurses Make the Difference for Diabetes’.