So I am a type 1 diabetic and there are things that I have found that I do different and things that I have found out all diabetics do. I work in an office with a young 20 something year old girl who is type 1 and a lovely close friend of mine who’s boyfriend is also type one diabetic so for this I have asked about and found out some very interesting information.
Firstly before I go any further let me just clarify what a diabetic is. The diabetes.co.uk definition of a type one diabetic is: “Someone who’s insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin.” Now to me that does not tell you much about how I feel about diabetes and how many millions of diabetics around the world feel about this illness (I hate calling it that,but that is what it is). Diabetes can happen to anyone at anytime of their life. I was two but I know people well past middle age who have been diagnosed.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a very young age, just before my second birthday.At this age I had no idea what was happening and according to my parents I thought they hated me. one day I’m happy and living life to its fullest then i became very ill, lost a lot of weight and was drinking water like it was going out of fashion, my mother took me to the local hospital where they told her what was wrong. Looking back on this I can only imagine how my parents must have felt thinking the worst and having no idea what this illness was or how to treat it. Thankfully the wonderful people at my local hospital were able to guide my parents and keep me alive long enough to be able to look after myself.
To me and most people I know diabetes is no big deal, yes it can kill me if not looked after and even not killing me, however with everyone in my life aware of my diabetes it means if anything ever goes wrong I don’t have to try and explain what is going on.
Now I am most definitely not saying diabetes has no down sides, sadly it has many. The lasting effects of badly controlled diabetes can cause a lot of health problems. The main health implications include loss of a limb such as a leg, foot or hand, there is the loss of sight and opening your body up to infection easier than a well controlled diabetic. I have seen people who look drunk in the street, falling over, slurred words being avoided because everyone thinks that the person is just drunk, but in fact it a diabetic who’s blood glucose is dropping beyond a manageable level.
Thankfully its not all doom and gloom and it is a fairly easy thing to control. For 99% of diabetics they have a blood glucose meter and one or two insulin pens. the glucose meter is a small device about the size of an old tamagotchi (for those of us old enough to remember them) that in general, you prick your finger with a lancet (needle) to get a drop of blood, Then you place the blood on a disposable “test strip” that is inserted in your meter. The test strip contains chemicals that react with glucose. Some meters measure the amount of electricity that passes through the test strip to produce a number to represent the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood.
The insulin pens are as they sound, a large pen looking device that has a hypodermic needle on it that you inject into your body to lower the amount of sugar in your blood.
The above is a very simplistic version of the diabetes treatment and for any diabetic reading this, I do understand I missed a lot out but trust me anyone without Diabetes who wants to know can google this or ask me, if you don’t want to know then let me move on.
Life with diabetes does have its draw backs, you must always test your bloods before and after eating, inject insulin before eating, test bloods before doing any activity (yes including that sadly) and everything you fell sick everyone assumes that its due to the diabetes and not because maybe you are human and can get a cold or stomach bug.
But thankfully its not an end to your life if you have this, there is a gold medalist in rowing Sir Steve Redgrave is a proud type one diabetic. I my self do a lot of mountain biking and I have never had any issues with my diabetes interfering with my biking. As long as you think a head then life is still as open for you as it is for everyone else.
So for all of you diabetics out there, both old and young, new and old to diabetes please remember you are not alone and we need to look out for one and other. And for all of you out there who never knew this was a thing, please remember, that person falling over asking for help on the street may be dying not just drunk. Stop, help and maybe, just maybe you can change a persons live by saving it rather than just assuming he is drunk.