Living with diabetes.

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Living with diabetes. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

About this work


The film, aimed at those who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, takes on the style of a one-to-one consultation with a diabetes consultant and dietician. It is presented by Geoffrey Lewis (diabetic consultant) and Stella Riley (dietician) to two patients: Miss Smith who has Type 1 diabetes and Mr. Anderson who has Type 2 diabetes. The two types are differentiated, and it is shown how the diabetic can live a normal life through diet alone, or through diet and the use of insulin. The technique of self-injection of insulin is demonstrated and is followed by an illustration of a routine urine test. A brief description of the manufacture of insulin is given, and the final sequences provide examples of some cases and symptoms of hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. 4 segments.


UK : Wellcome Foundation Ltd., 1959.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (22.25 min.) : sound, color



Copyright note

Wellcome Trust; 2008.

Terms of use


Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Written and directed by R.T. Goodliffe. Made with the assistance of Hammersmith Hospital and UCH. Miss Smith is played by Sheila Wynne. Mr. Anderson is played by Alec Finter. Live music by The Gherkins.


Segment 1 Over scenes of busy everyday life including a railway station and shopping street, diabetic consultant Geoffrey Lewis explains that three in every two hundred people in Britain have diabetes, although they may not be noticeable if they manage their condition successfully. A diagram is used to explain the syndrome, the importance of diet, and the importance of the pancreas in producing insulin. The two different types of diabetes are explained using diagrams - that of the obese, controlled by diet alone (Type 2) and of people of normal weight who require insulin (Type 1). Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:03:07:09 Length: 00:03:07:09
Segment 2 Dietician Stella Riley explains how carbohydrate foods contain sugars; the amount of sugar one needs depends on the kind of lifestyle one lives. We are introduced to Miss Smith who is a Type 1 diabetic. She is slim, an office worker and swims and dances. She requires insulin along with a carefully controlled diet. Next we meet Mr. Anderson who has Type 2 diabetes. He is older, a city worker who does not exercise and overeats at business lunches. He can control his diabetes by diet, along with additional tablets from time to time. The dietician shows the diet required by a person with Type 1 diabetes such as Miss Smith. She needs to control the volume and timing of her carbohydrate intake. Sample meals are shown. The diet of a Type 2 diabetic such as Mr. Anderson should be low in carbohydrates as he will probably need to lose weight; foods containing high sugar content such as sweets and cakes are forbidden unless artificial sweeteners are used. Sample meals are shown. As the two diabetic patients leave Miss Smith admits to her concerns about having to inject herself with insulin. Time start: 00:03:07:09 Time end: 00:09:49:13 Length: 00:06:42:04
Segment 3 This section begins with Geoffrey Lewis in consultation with Miss Smith about her insulin injections. She is very apprehensive about injecting herself but he reassures her with helpful advice and tips. The preparation of the syringe and injection of insulin is shown, along with a shot of an injection into the thigh muscle. Miss Smith is also taught how to test her urine to monitor her glucose levels. Time start: 00:09:49:13 Time end: 00:15:11:02 Length: 00:05:21:18
Segment 4 Miss Smith asks Geoffrey Lewis if he can tell her anything about insulin. He tells her that insulin is extracted from an animal's pancreas and is made by large companies, including the pioneering 'Burroughs Wellcome & Co.' We see the outside of the Wellcome chemical works. Then the production of insulin is shown; the pancreat imported from abroad undergoes complex processes to be turned into insulin. Lively music accompanies shots of insulin on the production line being bottled and packed, with product shots. Geoffrey Lewis then explains how important it is to stick to routine. A scenario unfolds in which Miss Smith has skipped her evening meal in favour of going dancing. She begins to become hypoglycaemic until her boyfriend brings her a very sweet coffee. A further scenario sees Miss Smith in bed with a bad cold. She should get up, eat breakfast and have her insulin shot but she crawls back into bed. By midday she is feeling very unwell and phones her GP as she has become hyperglycaemic. The film ends with Geoffrey Lewis repeating how important it is for a Type 1 diabetic to take their insulin in order to be able to lead a normal life. Time start: 00:15:11:02 Time end: 00:22:23:24 Length: 00:07:12:21



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