Ignoring symptoms came at cost

Linda Andersen was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Linda Andersen was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Warren Lynam

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

Topics:  diabetes doctors health national diabetes week

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