Mother stresses importance of knowing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes
- Credit: Archant
A mother from Beyton is on a mission to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes after her son was rushed into hospital when he was just two years old.
A mother from Beyton is on a mission to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes in a bid to save young lives.
Kirsty Allan’s son was just two when he was diagnosed with the life-long illness and now she wants to help other parents learn to spot the symptoms. The 34-year-old admits her world was turned upside down back in 2014 when son Spencer, fell ill and was taken into hospital. She said: “It started with him drinking huge amounts, I bought him a bottle of water and within seconds he had downed it and was crying because he needed more.
“I just thought this is not normal for someone of his age.”
Thankfully, the mum did some research and was able to identify the possible cause of her son’s unquenchable thirst.
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The most common symptoms for diabetes type 1 are known as the four Ts - the need to go to the toilet a lot, being unable to quench thirst, feeling more tired than usual and losing weight or looking thinner - all symptoms Kirsty had detected in her son. “I took him to the doctors and he was then rushed to A&E and we spent three days in hospital.” Although devastated at the diagnosis, Kirsty was relieved it had been picked up as soon as it was.
She said: “Multiple people die each year after going undiagnosed. Type 1 is more common in children but anyone can get it at any point in their life.”
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She added: “Everyone seems to know about Type 2, but not many people know the symptoms of Type 1, I didn’t until Spencer got ill. “My friends must get sick of me sharing things about Type 1 on Facebook but people need to know the signs because children do pass away.”
And even once diagnosed, there are still risks. Kirsty explained: “You don’t realise how many different factors can alter blood sugar levels, but things like his temperature and his emotions affect it.
“He once got an ear infection and it nearly killed him, we didn’t even realise he had it.” Until recently Spencer, who is now seven, had to have a finger prick test every two hours and was subjected to multiple injections throughout the day – some days he could have as many as eight - to manage his insulin levels. But in December doctors introduced automated devices which monitor blood sugar levels and administer the correct level of insulin. The machine also alerts Kirsty if levels suddenly drop. Kirsty said: “I have to do a carb count and work out what he is going to eat each day, then weigh it all out so he gets the right amount of insulin.” Kirsty and Spencer are always looking for ways to raise awareness of the illness and raise funds for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Kirsty completed a sky dive for the charity which raised £6,000 and Spencer is taking part in the JDRF walk, covering 400,000 steps in 40 days to raise money and spread awareness of the illness.