BBC Radio Wales: Children Being Diagnosed with Diabetes AND Complications

On Monday 9th March I was asked to go and talk on BBC Radio Wales' 'Good Evening Wales' programme to speak to presenters Kayley and Peter because a report was released the same morning by the National Paediatric Diabetes Audit Report (NPDA), on the care of children with diabetes throughout the UK. The report contained some worrying statistics regarding the rise in diagnosis' of children with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 and also that Wales and the South West of England were identified as apparent areas where more help and support are needed. Having lived in Wales all my life and having been diagnosed with diabetes almost 14 years ago I was able to provide my perspective on the findings of the report.

As an outline for those who haven't yet had chance to read the report of the audit, it outlined that there have been over 1,000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed this year versus last year. That the quality of care received by children with diabetes is improving but that it can vary depending on location and that those children that come from deprived areas see less positive outcomes with their diabetes control. Whilst the fact that care is improving is a great positive to take from the report, there were some quite concerning facts noted regarding other complications that recently diagnosed children are suffering with;

- 27.5% of young people with type 1 diabetes have high blood pressure

- Over 7% have excess protein in their urine which indicated a high risk of future kidney diseases

- Over 14% have early signs of eye disease, putting them at risk of future eye conditions

- Nearly 1 in 5 children aged 0-11 years and 1 in 4 children over the age of 12 who have diabetes are classified as obese
(BBC, 2015)

However, regarding hbA1c levels, these have improved steadily over the last two years increasing from 15.8% achieving excellent control in 2012/13 to 18.4% in 2013/14. One of the questions that I was asked during the interview was, did I think enough was being done to tackle the issue of children with type 1 diabetes being diagnosed already with complications. To which I answered that my concern was that if children were already being diagnosed with complications, then they were not being diagnosed early enough. Which directly relates to the awareness of the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, which are losing weight (thinner), feeling very tired all the time (tired), going to the toilet much more frequently than usual (toilet) and drinking more but always feeling thirsty (thirsty). Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I didn't know anything about the condition, it was something that I'd heard other people had, but I didn't know what was involved or how it might affect me. It was only because I was too tired to go to school shortly before I was diagnosed, that my Mum took me to the doctors to get tested to see what was wrong. When the blood and urine tests came back the doctor rang my Mum straight away who rushed me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with diabetes.

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a frightening time, because life as you know it changes. But I did feel that it was important to stress on the radio, that diabetes is a manageable condition with frequent blood sugar checks and taking your insulin when you need to. Unfortunately there is still a stigma around the idea that if you're diagnosed with diabetes life has to become boring with a bland diet and no physical activity. But I think that I'm proof that this doesn't have to be the case. I had plenty of people put me down because they thought I shouldn't be doing sport with diabetes. But as long as there was a safe way to continue, that's what I did and I used this as my motivation to train harder and to show people that diabetes doesn't need to stop you doing anything. It was my pleasure as always to go and speak on Good Evening Wales and if I've managed to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes, then I'll have done my job!

If you missed the show and would like to listen again it's available on BBC iPlayer Radio

(Image: Good Evening Wales/ BBC iPlayer Radio)


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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