THE importance of people of all ages being aware of diabetes symptoms is even more importance during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to a local diabetes campaigner.
Ennis resident Gráinne Flynn has urged everyone, not just parents, to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes known as the four T’s: toilet, thirst, thin, tired.
She warned undiagnosed Type One diabetes can lead to a serious condition or fatality if untreated.
“I was diagnosed as an adult. I was not where my parents could observe the dramatic changes in my physical being; I took it upon myself to seek help only after a friend noticed one of my symptoms and probably saving my life.
“Imagine if my friend didn’t say anything to me because they believed that diabetes was a childhood illness?
“It is extremely, extremely, important that any Type One diabetes symptom awareness campaigns strongly highlight that this diagnosis can happen at any age.
Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should seek, regardless of their age.
“Through my involvement in local diabetes support and the diabetes online community for more than 10 years, I have met many adults diagnosed with Type One diabetes in the 30’s, 40’s and beyond.
“Under normal non-Covid circumstances, early signs of Type One diabetes in adults are usually brushed off or mistaken for something else, but today, most working adults are doing so from home and not in regular physical contact with people who may suggest seeking help or notice their symptoms. This is of great concern,” she explained.
Living with Type One diabetes for more than 26 years, Gráinne Flynn is an event organiser, patient speaker and diabetes advocate who is campaigning for years to improve the lives of people with this condition.
In addition to her extensive work as a volunteer with Diabetes Ireland, the mother-of-two is constantly researching facts and statistics to secure proper services in the Mid-West for diabetics.
In 2017, research published by the University of Exeter Medical School determined that 50% of all people diagnosed with Type One diabetes were over the age of 30 years. A follow up study from the same university revealed that 38% percent of adults with Type One diabetes are misdiagnosed.
These incidences of misdiagnoses lead to consistently high glucose levels, from not having the right treatment, can greatly increase the risk of developing additional long-term complications.
Another study published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology in 2012 determined that one third of diabetes deaths in adults in Maryland were from undiagnosed Type One diabetes.