Celebrating World Diabetes Day: Bittersweet, A Brand Offering Products To Help Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetics
Every year on Nov. 14th, people all around the globe observe World Diabetes Day with a particular theme. This year, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is calling on policymakers to increase access to diabetes education to help improve the lives of more than half a billion people living with diabetes. To celebrate in our own way, we decided to spread awareness of this medical condition by having a conversation with Diabetes Specialist Maian Torky. With her extensive knowledge about diabetes and her brand “Bittersweet”, which aims to aid type 1 and type 2 diabetics, Torky gave us the full scope of the most common health problems that diabetes can cause along with the products her brand offers.
What is diabetes?
Torky started by defining diabetes as “a chronic illness with two major types.” She said that the first type is an auto-immune disease that usually develops during childhood, but can develop at any age. It usually happens when the body is no longer able to produce insulin, causing blood sugar to be very unstable. Torky explained that “type 1 diabetics depend on 3-5 insulin shots a day for the rest of their lives.” Type 2 then occurs when a person becomes insulin resistant, meaning their body doesn’t produce enough insulin. She claimed that “this type is most common in people over the age of 45 and a healthy lifestyle is crucial for its prevention. It can be controlled though by taking pills, following a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.” Additionally, Torky expressed that Diabetes can cause a number of health problems if not managed correctly. These health problems include damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Torky then empathized that our lifestyles are crucial not only for the prevention of diabetes but for our physical and mental health in general. She asserted that “eating habits don’t cause diabetes. Instead, an unhealthy lifestyle can be the cause of type 2 diabetes; and by that I mean; skipping breakfast, smoking, eating processed foods, lack of sleep, and being overweight. On the other hand, type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle and researchers have not yet found a reason for it or a way to prevent it.”
As she was debunking diabetes, we were curious to find out whether any of the phrases we hear every day about the disease were true or false. Some of these myths were: “too much sugar causes diabetes, diabetics can’t eat sugar, diabetics have to go on a special diet.” Torky then explained that all these are myths are wrong. Diabetics can eat just like everyone else, they just have to be more aware of what they are eating so that they are able to control it. They are only advised to stay away from things that everyone else should avoid as well.
After understanding what diabetes is and its two different types, Torky proceeded to talk about her brand and the inspirations that helped her achieve this project. She started off by asserting that she have been diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes about a year ago. It definitely wasn’t easy for her as she affirmed that “it came to me as an absolute shock, and I had to go through an extremely difficult transition. Like most people, I knew nothing about it, how hard it is to manage, and how much it would affect my life moving forward.”
This unawareness made Torky feel “alone,” affected her mental health, and drove her to constantly raise questions like “why me?” This did not last for too long as she became inspired to start “bittersweet.” This project aims to raise awareness about diabetes and affirm to other diabetics that they are not alone. They now have a full community to support them and their needs. When we asked her about the inspiration behind the name “Bittersweet,” Torky answered: “to portray the sweetness we can create from a bitter condition such as diabetes.”
To know more about the products offered by Bittersweet, Torky emphasized how continuous glucose monitors such as the “freestyle libre”, which is the sensor that diabetics stick on their arms to measure blood sugars, are life-changing. She went on to say that “they stop you from pricking your finger a million times a day, and It’s also great because it measures it continuously. Some of them even have alarms for when you go too low or too high and you might not have any symptoms.”
But what’s really the goal behind Bittersweet? Torky suggested that it is a brand to help type 1 and type 2 diabetics and make it easier for them to explore life with diabetes. The products offered there are meant to add a little bit of “pretty” to the not-so-pretty moments. Torky then told us that she finds enjoyment in designing these stickers, and making every diabetic’s experience as unique as possible – especially for children. She is also trying to create a community by making every diabetic residing in Egypt feel like they are part of something big. Lately, Bittersweet aims to raise awareness about diabetes and help non-diabetics learn more about the illness.
Torky claimed that the Middle East region lacks awareness about the disease. Torky then started shedding light on her personal experience with diabetes as it became hard for her since nobody understood what it meant, or how much it affected her life on a daily basis. She did not know anything about diabetes before being diagnosed as she thought that all diabetics were the same and that they only needed to take a pill after every meal.
Finally, she ended the interview with one strong phrase, and it was:
There is a lot that comes with diabetes and there’s a lot that people need to be aware ofMaian Torky via Scoop Empire