Diabetes is becoming increasingly common. In 2015, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK was estimated at 3.8 million, set to rise to 4.9 million by 2035. Pre-diabetes, a metabolic condition closely linked to obesity, is also becoming more common, with nearly three million people in the UK being affected. If pre-diabetes is left untreated, it can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
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 →
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.”
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.