My Story– I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 9. At the time we were oblivious to the signs as it didn’t affect us. Turns out I ended up in a coma as I had went in to a Diabetic Ketoacidosis and also had a urinary Tract Infection. Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications. Since then I have been an advocate of making people aware of the symptoms to look out for so they can get the diagnosis early on and avoid serious complications.
The only person I knew that had Diabetes was a girl in my class but like with everything else when it doesn’t affect your life you turn a blind eye. I was brought to the Doctors and took a urine test and was diagnosed then and there and was told to get straight to the hospital. All I knew about Diabetes was I would NEVER be able to eat sugar again (or so I thought) and all I wanted for my ‘last treat’ was an ice pop before going to A & E. I spent two weeks recovering in hospital and learning all about the autoimmune disease, learning how to carbohydrate count and how to take injections. At that time (17 years ago!!!) I was on actual syringes and not the new disposable pens which was even more daunting but like with everything else in life it soon becomes second nature.
It is vital that people are aware of these signs because you never know it might happen to a family member or friend in the future as it is so common. Currently it is estimated that 225,850 people in Ireland alone are living with Diabetes!
Signs & Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
- Thirsty– Like at the time I could not quench my thirst. I would sit in the bathroom during the night and drink from the tap it was that bad. I was 9 and I began wetting the bed! It was so embarrassing and confusing! I didn’t understand why this was happening. Obviously I know now it was because I was drinking tonnes of water.
- Tiredness- I am talking about chronic fatigue were you just cannot keep your eyes open where you sleep at any opportunity. The reason for this is your blood sugars are so high and you need insulin to bring it down.
- Weight Loss– Before I went to the Doctors and got diagnosed I woke from another nap to go to the toilet and my trousers fell down as I had lost that much weight in the space of a few hours. It happens rapidly due to Diabetic ketoacidosis(DKA).
- Frequent Urination– Any person with Diabetes will tell you that a good chunk of the day is spend running to the loo. Still to this day I wake at least once if not twice during the night to go to the toilet.
I hope one day this enables you to identify these signs in somebody you know to ensure efficient treatment. I would love to hear YOUR story about the day you were diagnosed – How did you find out you had Diabetes? How old were you? Share your story and help spread awareness of Type 1 Diabetes which is one of the most common illnesses amongst young people in Ireland.
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