Ignoring symptoms came at cost
AT ALMOST 70, Linda Andersen was not considered a "high risk" for type 1 diabetes.
She ate healthily, walked daily and had intolerance to sugar.
So when a doctor ordered the Minyama grandmother for a "precautionary" blood test she thought the last thing she would have to do was spend the next 10 days in intensive care.
"I woke up with a blood sugar level of 28 and surrounded by doctors and nurses," Mrs Andersen said.
"I was in shock and felt awful. I never dreamed this would happen to me."
While type 1 diabetes affects people of any age, it usually occurs in children and young adults.
The less common and considerably more invasive form of the disease affects 10-15% of all Australians diagnosed. The rest have type 2 diabetes.
As part of National Diabetes Awareness Week this week, Diabetes Australia wants more people to become aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
"Almost a million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated that almost as many have the condition and are not yet diagnosed," a Diabetes Australia spokesman said.
"When you add pre-diabetes into the statistics, it is estimated the total number of Australians with either diabetes or pre-diabetes is 3.2 million, which is a staggering 14% of the population."
Mrs Andersen admitted she felt the symptoms, but did nothing about it.
"I was tired, but I thought it was because I am anaemic. I was thirsty, but I thought it was because of the antibiotics I was taking," she said.
"I went downhill so quick. One minute I was fine and the next I was in hospital."
Almost a month since her diagnosis, Mrs Andersen said her body had adjusted and she was feeling much better.
"I am still in the honeymoon stage, but I feel that I am getting energy back and can start exercising again," she said.
National Diabetes Awareness Week runs from July 8-14.
For more information, visit diabetesaustralia.com.au.