Jacob knew the signs, felt he had diabetes

LEARNING: Ballarat teenager Jacob Payne talks with Ballarat Health Services diabetes educator Sandra Anstis, about how to best manage his diabetes. Picture: Kate Healy
LEARNING: Ballarat teenager Jacob Payne talks with Ballarat Health Services diabetes educator Sandra Anstis, about how to best manage his diabetes. Picture: Kate Healy

TEENAGER Jacob Payne did worry he might develop type one diabetes after his identical twin was rushed to hospital in a critical condition before he was diagnosed last year.

Then Jacob, who turns 15 this month, started to have to go to the toilet to urinate more and more. H e too, was diagnosed with type one diabetes in March.

While Jacob quips his twin complains Jacob keeps copying him, Jacob says the was fortunate to know the signs so he could avoid a similar trip to hospital.

“I knew (diabetes) was an option but I was in a bit of shock when I found out, so I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t crying, I was just sort of in shock,” Jacob said.

Still adjusting, Jacob meets every fortnight or so with a diabetes educator at Ballarat Health Services diabetes centre. He and his twin must now inject insulin before every meal and a slow-release insulin at night.

“Sometimes in class I have to test my blood sugar and I have to go to my locker and eat candy because I have low blood sugar and it can affect my learning, especially when I’m doing an assessment task,” Jacob said.

Diabetes Australia is calling It’s About Time for National Diabetes Week, urging people to learn more about the early signs of all types of diabetes for early detection.

About 1.7 million Australians are living with diabetes with 280 more diagnosed each week.

BHS diabetes educator Sandra Anstis said this numbers were rising and creating a major concern in the health system with complication that can arise with diabetes, like blindness, kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.

Type one, like Jacob has, is an auto-immune condition with no clear reason for how it develops. There are no preventative measure.

Type two diabetes tends to be associated with modifiable lifestyle factors but, Ms Anstis said, could take up to seven years to diagnose. Type two is progressive and can be managed with physical exercise, diet and losing weight.

Ms Anstis said failure to recognise the symptoms early tended to land people in hospital in a critical state. Key signs include: tiredness, trips to the toilet and increasing thirst.

“All types of diabetes are increasing at a really rapid rate and we’d like to try and reduce that, help people manage that and reduce their risk factors for type two,” Ms Anstis said.