Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. It’s marked by uncontrollably high blood glucose levels, which can be managed by injecting insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes must check their blood sugar levels throughout the day, if left unchecked or uncontrolled, it can lead to very terrible days, health concerns, and long-term consequences.
26-year-old, Emma Malcomson “was diagnosed when” she “was six and that was a really young age to have such a burden placed on my shoulders.”
Physical activity and diet both have an impact on the amount of insulin required, thus one must be constantly vigilant about both at all times.
“It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up,” says, Emma.
“What’s my blood sugar? How much insulin am I going to need with my breakfast? How many carbs on my breakfast?
“Am I going to be walking at work today? Am I going to have a coffee? Is that caffeine going to spike my blood sugar? Am I going to need more insulin for that?
“There’s 101 decisions going through my head and different scenarios before I’m even out of bed and I think that a lot of people think type one diabetes is just watch what you eat and you’ll be fine.”
Emma, who is from Belfast, says she appears fine the majority of the time but has terrible days when she wonders “why did this happen to me?”
“It can be quite isolating,” she adds, “especially just little things like whenever I’m out with my friends for a meal or drinks.
“It amazes me sometimes to think people can just sit down and start eating their dinner and not have to do mental maths and think about the impact the food they’re eating will have on their blood sugars, on the body and how much sleep they ‘re going to get that night.”
Alcohol causes a separate set of issues, and she tries not to pull her pals down by addressing the difficulties.
“I was in my early 20s before I even spoke to someone to say that, actually, this really sucks sometimes and it has an effect on my mental health,” she adds.
“I didn’t realize how much I needed to speak to someone about it until I came out of a session and I could really feel the weight off my shoulders.”
As we emerge from the pandemic, young people, lone parents, and those with long-term health concerns are most likely to struggle with mental health, according to mental health experts.
“Finding ways of sharing the burden that has been placed on your life will have a massive impact,” she says.
“Sometimes I feel like you can almost talk yourself out of the mess that might be going on in your mind when you’re verbally processing it and try and chat to someone else about it.
“Just having a chat sometimes, it’s such a simple thing, but it can do wonders for your mental health.”
Image Credit: Getty
You were reading: It’s Not Just Insulin: Most don’t know how hard it is living with Type 1 Diabetes