The Rarer Form of Diabetes
Many people haven’t heard of Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA), also known as type 1.5 or slow onset type 1 diabetes. Usually diagnosed in people over the age of 25, it doesn’t require medication of insulin immediately, but this can become required further down the line.
Izzy Mustafa, 32 from Hull, was recently diagnosed with this less commonly known condition early this year.
“My immune system is attacking my Beta Cells – Insulin producing cells in the pancreas. It will eventually reduce my insulin production to a level that requires me to have insulin injections.”
A Confused Doctor
LADA or type 1.5 diabetes is often misdiagnosed as type 2 initially, with Diabetes UK estimating about 10-15% of people have been wrongly diagnosed. It can take a while for the correct diagnosis to be made, as people with LADA often appear quite healthy – they often don’t share the standard type 2 diabetes characteristics of being overweight, unfit or having metabolic syndrome indicators (a group of risk factors including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels and abdominal fat). Read more
Life after Liver Transplant Surgery and A Diabetes Diagnosis
Staying positive when you’re affected by a serious illness isn’t easy. But Tony West, 52, does just that. Tony was diagnosed with a rare liver disease in 1988 which led to a liver transplant. Then, in 1992, he found out that he also had Type 1 diabetes. Read his story below.
Living with Autoimmune Hepatitis
Tony’s life took a dramatic turn after returning from a holiday in the Far East.
“I was jaundiced and feeling very unwell, so the doctors knew roughly what the problem was. However, it took them a while to establish what type of Hepatitis it was as there are five strains and my symptoms didn’t fit any of them neatly. After a few tests and medical history check, they diagnosed it as Chronic Autoimmune Hepatitis (AIH) which is a fairly uncommon form.
“Doctors don’t know for certain what causes AIH, but they believe it’s due to white blood cells attacking the liver cells. My symptoms included feeling tired all the time, losing weight and feeling sick after eating anything, but you can also get joint pain, abdominal pain and unusual blood vessels showing up around your body.” Read more
Health Impacts of Too Much Sugar
You‘ve probably seen headlines and articles saying that sugar is a cause of the rise in cardiovascular diseases and obesity levels in the UK, but what exactly about this innocent looking substance is so harmful to our health? And what health conditions is it actually linked to?
What Is Sugar?
Sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Fructose is broken down in the liver, whereas glucose is digested in the stomach and requires insulin to metabolise it properly.
Naturally occurring sugar is found in all fruits, vegetables and dairy foods, but in relatively low quantities. In these foods it is accompanied by vitamins, antioxidants, water and fibre, all of which have health benefits. Processed sugar doesn’t have any of these added nutrients, proteins or fats, and is just pure energy, which is why you get an initial boost but then a come-down shortly after eating sugary foods. Read more
Enjoying Halloween with Diabetes
Everyone loves Halloween, especially children, whether it’s dressing up, having a party or going trick or treating with friends. If your child is diabetic however, it can be hard to handle their condition without making them feel left out of the festive activities. Read on for some low-sugar, diabetic treat ideas and the health benefits of that Halloween favourite, pumpkin.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a common health condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high, because the body doesn’t produce insulin correctly. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 is when the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin and type 2 is where not enough insulin is made or the little that’s made doesn’t work properly.
Diabetics have to carefully control their blood sugar levels, often through medication, a healthy diet and regular exercise. Foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar, such as fizzy drinks, puddings and sweets, immediately raise blood sugar levels in a spike which is then followed by a low, so diabetics are recommended to opt for diet/light, low calorie or no sugar options. Read more
Dog Lover dies from Type 1 Diabetes
Retired care worker Richard Black, 68, had been fighting Type 1 diabetes for over 20 years but sadly succumbed to the disease in February this year. His close friend Lucy Simmons spoke to us about his passion for dogs and his charity work with Help Pozega Dogs
A Caring Man
Lucy met Richard six years ago and they’d been friends ever since.
“He was a customer at the little cafe where I work. It’s a small and friendly place so we got to know Richard by chatting every time he came in for tea. The cafe owner and I knew he was diabetic and wanted to make sure he was looking after himself, so we always made sure he had something to eat and drink.
“Some days we could see that he wasn’t feeling well and we would sit with him until he felt better. A day or two after he would bring us a little gift each and tell us that we always looked after him so he wanted to say thank you.
“He was so thoughtful, always worrying about everyone else and never himself. He was constantly having to deal with infections in his legs caused by small cuts or scratches – when his sugar levels were too high he collapsed, often hurting himself. He was receiving treatment at the clinic but he never once complained. I wish he’d talked to us more about what he was going through but I think he didn’t want to worry us. Instead he used to make light of the situation by making jokes.”
From the 1st April – 4th May is National Pet Month, which celebrates all the joys animals bring to our lives. The charity aims to promote responsible pet ownership and raise awareness about the benefits of having animals, plus the value of working pets to society.
Each year the charity has a different theme, which their numerous fundraising events are based around. This year it’s ‘Pets and the Elderly: Enjoying Later Years Together.’
Dogs – Man’s Best Friend
Dogs have been hailed as man’s best friend for years and some are being trained to go even further in their ability to help their owners. Medical assistance dogs are specially trained to aid humans who suffer from a range of conditions such as physical disabilities, mental health issues, epilepsy and diabetes. Some are even being trained to detect early forms of cancerous cells.
A Medical Detection Dog
Dr Claire Guest is Director of Operations and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs. She set up the foundation in 2008 after her previous work showed that dogs could be trained to recognise certain smells, including cancerous cells.
“I knew we had a brilliant solution to early cancer detection using the amazing smelling power of dogs. I was determined to take it to the point where we started putting the science into practice and saving lives.”
Jobi, a cancer detection dog
A Lifelong Condition
Emma Buckett, 35, from Reading has multiple health conditions including Friedreich’s Ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition that causes damage to the nervous system and attacks the spinal cord, resulting in restricted movement.
“I’ve had mobility problems since I was 2 and started using a wheelchair more permanently at age 16. Having a wheelchair was easier and made me more able to move independently rather than struggling to walk. It was a relief to get one really.”
A common health issue related to this condition is diabetes, which Emma has in Type 1 form, plus she suffers from hypothyroidism and a penicillin allergy.
“I was diagnosed with all my conditions between the ages of nine and 25. My ataxia is a degenerative condition so I may develop other conditions throughout my life because of it.
Variety of Symptoms
Emma’s conditions have a range of symptoms and unfortunately her ataxia symptoms are likely to worsen over time.
“I am a wheelchair user due to my ataxia, with reduced strength and coordination, so things like typing and lifting are difficult and time consuming. It has affected my speech, gives me hearing problems and severe tiredness.
When Managing Multiple Health Conditions, “Take Control and Never Give Up”
For Peter Haswell, 59, from the Wirral in Merseyside, managing multiple health conditions requires organisation and perseverance.
He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1973, and later with asthma in 2005 after feeling his chest tighten up whilst out on a run. Whilst his diabetes took only 24 hours to be diagnosed, his asthma took 7 days.
Pictured above: Peter (far right) with his son Alexander, wife Ann and daughter Victoria
Being Diagnosed with Diabetes
Peter experienced symptoms of increased thirst and extreme tiredness before being diagnosed with the least common form of diabetes, type 1. He has daily insulin injections, but even with controlled treatment he’s had medical emergencies.
“On several occasions at work my blood sugars have got too low and I’ve needed help to recover.”
Jen Bishop, from Middlesex, felt the world drop past her shoulders when her son Callum was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three. Now 11 years on she talks about why it’s important not to let the condition rule your child’s life.
Carrie Hayward, 34, from London (pictured right), was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 19. Always keeping up with the latest trends and wanting to look stylish, she hated the idea of medical ID jewellery.
“I avoided medical ID at all costs because the jewellery I came across was really ugly looking. I used to have a talisman necklace and just hated it – it didn’t suit me and I never wore it,” says Carrie.
But after traveling to work each day on the tube and getting serious hypos in the hot weather, the young lawyer decided she needed an extra safety precaution.