Thursday, November 1, 2012

There is no shame: know the symptoms

Tonight I am sitting at my computer waiting for news about the life of a little 7 year old Australian girl I have never met. This little girl was diagnosed yesterday with type 1 diabetes. What makes this story so heartbreaking is that she was not diagnosed until it was possibly too late. It appears that she visited her doctor four times over the past few weeks and her mother was told she had a virus and a UTI. All that needed to be done was for her GP to give her a blood glucose test. Whilst this is not a conclusive diagnosis, it would have shown her levels were high and she could have been treated before her blood essentially turned to acid and her body started to shut down. 

The diabetes community is always rocked when we hear stories like this. We now know what to look out for and know how easy the symptoms are to miss. We also know how little money is available to promote the symptoms of this chronic illness and how much confusion there is in the community between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Tonight I am asking you to please try and remember the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. Because of the common confusion between type 1 and type 2, I believe that parents may be loath to push with the doctor.  There is a degree of shame which is rained down on parents post diagnosis by those that do not understand that there is nothing – NOTHING that can be done to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes. No diet, no exercise, no God (and certainly no herbs). Nothing will change the diagnosis.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms can include: extreme thirst;  constant hunger; sudden weight loss; frequent urination; blurred vision; nausea; vomiting; extreme tiredness; infections. If you think you or someone you know has these type 1 diabetes symptoms, call a doctor immediately, and drink fluids WITHOUT SUGAR to prevent dehydration and DO NOT be afraid to ask for a blood glucose test. It will only take a few seconds and could save a life.

I was very lucky with my daughter. She was diagnosed at 11 months of age. As she was still being breastfed and was so young, it took three emergency doctors to diagnose her, and while her life was in the balance for a few hours, she pulled through and is now a happy and healthy 3 (almost 4 as she will tell you) year old. With type 1 diabetes you never truly know the road ahead. Any night could be an all-nighter, with blood tests every hour. But at least you know. 

For more information about type 1 diabetes visit  or about type 1 and type 2 diabetes visit
For more information on our diagnosis click here or here.


  1. we were also at the docs multiple times till a diagnosis. To your advice I would also add that once diagnosed give your gp 6 months only to get up to speed on type 1. If he still asks stupid questions get a gp who does know about it.

  2. Thanks Tamara. Lack of knowledge is frightening with the possible outcome being so lethal.

  3. My friend Karina (you probably know her and her daugter Sarah, who has pancreatic agenesis) has asked me to write a post on this. For National Diabetes Day, for this poor mother and her daughter, for more people to know about Type 1 (I have insulin dependant Type 2, have had for 12 years).

    Would you mind terribly if I referred people to your blog? I know a LOT about TYPE 2 diabetes but not nearly as much about TYPE 1 (though I have always been aware of the signs, and am amazed and saddened to see that so many don't). So it's going to be better for me to refer readers to a site or a person with a lot more first hand knowledge.

    Obviously I'll refer them to Diabetes Australia but I thought a personal blog might be a good idea too. I hope it's ok. Either way, would you either drop by my blog ( or email me at to let me know.

    Thanks so much.

  4. No worries at all - sorry I meant to reply earlier - but have been away!