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Eman Diabetic Diaries: An Egyptian Woman’s Journey Living With Diabetes

November 13, 2023

“It felt very lonely.” This is how Eman El-Menshawy, Diabetes Educator and Founder of Eman Diabetic Diaries, describes her emotions upon being diagnosed with diabetes.

Getting diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of seven was not initially easy to accept. Being the only member of her family diagnosed with the chronic illness, she felt different, ashamed, and attempted to hide it from the people around her.

Stemming from her belief in the importance of raising awareness, and with a persistent feeling that people living with diabetes deserve more peer support and community acceptance, El-Menshawy created Eman Diabetic Diaries two years ago.

Eman Diabetic Diaries is a blog offering insight into the life of a person living with diabetes. Between mental health support, maintaining a healthy diet, relationships, and bullying in school or at the workplace, El-Menshawy covers diverse topics that relate to those living with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Through her blog, El-Menshawy posts interactive videos, hosts virtual Q&A sessions, and organises in-person meet-ups for peer-to-peer support.


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A post shared by Eman Diabetic Diaries | يوميات ايمان المسكرة (@emandiabeticdiaries)

“My blog’s main message is ‘you are not alone,’” El-Menshawy tells Egyptian Streets.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that type 1 diabetes is characterized by a deficiency in the production of insulin. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes stops the body from using insulin properly, which can lead to high levels of blood sugar if not treated.

Type 1 diabetes is often hereditary, and there is no way to prevent it. It usually appears in children and adolescents. Nevertheless, it can also appear in adults. Type 2 diabetes is generally more common, as lifestyle and diet can contribute to its appearance. It is more likely to appear as people age, but it can also appear among children.

For World Diabetes Day, which is annually commemorated on 14 November, Egyptian Streets spoke to El-Menshawy about her experience and struggles living with diabetes, as well as her blog, Eman Diabetic Diaries.

“Since we never had easily accessible Egyptian Arabic language content on diabetes, the feedback on the blog was overwhelming and it motivated me to continue,” El-Menshawy says.

In Egypt, the number of adult diabetic patients was 8,850,400 in early 2020, ranking ninth in the prevalence of diabetes worldwide. The WHO estimates that by the year 2025, nearly 9 million Egyptians will have diabetes.

Despite being widespread in the populous country, many are not aware of its effects or ways to deal with it.


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A post shared by Eman Diabetic Diaries | يوميات ايمان المسكرة (@emandiabeticdiaries)

“People don’t know how to deal with those living with diabetes. If someone loses consciousness, people don’t know what to do,” El-Menshawy explains.

She strongly believes that knowledge is power, and that the more awareness there is among society, the more people will understand what diabetes is and learn how to prevent it, deal with it, accept it, and live with it.

“Community acceptance and maintaining blood sugar levels — they’re both a shared responsibility. It’s both the person’s responsibility and the partner or parent’s responsibility to support in times of weakness and know how to act in emergencies,” El-Menshawy adds.

One day, she hopes to get her voice heard by a larger audience to spread much-needed awareness about living with diabetes in Egypt.

If you or anyone you know is living with diabetes, follow Eman Diabetic Diaries to learn more about the chronic illness and ways to support those living with it.

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