TREATMENT: Diabetes patient Jeremy Morris with Dr Brett Sillars
TREATMENT: Diabetes patient Jeremy Morris with Dr Brett Sillars

Coast man’s advice after life-changing diagnosis

Jeremy Morris can still remember the moment he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Watching The Footy Show as a nine-year-old on a Thursday night, the news was delivered which sparked his mother’s tears and a desperate dash to the hospital.

“I’d been really sick for a while and lost a lot of weight, I was drinking two litres of water a night and kept wetting the bed, mum knew something was really wrong,” Mr Morris said.

Now 27, Mr Morris has learned to live with the auto-immune condition, and thanks to the latest in monitoring technology, he’s safer than ever.

“I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed, it was a Thursday night, The Footy Show was on, mum was crying, and I was rushed to hospital,” he said.

“From then on, living with and managing the disease has become a huge part of my life.

“It was definitely hard, I did my own needles and finger pricks from a very young age, and everyday is a balance of keeping your levels not too high or not too low.”

Institutionalised, incurable, but one of the lucky ones

The Coast local now uses an insulin pump connected to a continuous monitoring system in the form of a patch which sits on his skin.

The latest version of the glucose monitoring system has a sensor that sits under the skin, constantly analysing his glucose levels, and if they go too low or too high, an alarm goes off on his phone to alert him.

“My wife can also follow my levels on her phone, and my mum does as well, it’s peace of mind for them too,” he said.

What it costs to run our health system

Every year in Australia, 640 children and adults are admitted to hospital because the early signs of Type 1 diabetes had been missed.

If not diagnosed in time, Type 1 diabetes can be fatal.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service clinical director of endocrinology, Dr Brett Sillars, said maintaining a healthy lifestyle was important in managing Type 1 diabetes, which, unlike Type 2 diabetes, was not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors, and there was no cure for the disease.

“Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin,” Dr Sillars said.

“We do not know what triggers this auto-immune process.”

50,000 reasons why new hospital was needed

A diagnosis tool called the 4 T’s has been developed to help people recognise the early signs of Type 1 diabetes.

They are: Tired- unexplained or excessive fatigue; Thirsty- a thirst that can’t be quenched; Thinner- sudden or unexplained weight loss; Toilet- going to the toilet a lot.

“It’s so important that if you feel like something is not right, you should go and get checked,” Mr Morris said in a timely reminder, as this week was National Diabetes Week.

“The only thing that is going to help you manage diabetes is the correct medication and education.”



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