Echuca teen Kia James, who has type 1 diabetes, holds the record for the highest blood sugar count at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital.By Ivy Wise
Thirteen-year-old Kia James holds the record for the highest blood sugar count at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.
A normal blood sugar level should be between four and eight — Kia recorded 57.7.
‘‘I don’t really remember much of it,’’ she said.
On June 27, Kia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after her father found her in an comatose state at home.
The Echuca teen was flown to Melbourne and spent a week and a half at the Royal Children’s, where doctors monitored her to get her insulin dose right.
Kia, who is in year 7 at St Joseph’s College, is among more than 130,000 people in Australia with type 1 diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin and without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose (sugar) into energy.
To stay alive, people depend on up to four insulin injections every day of their lives and must test their blood glucose levels several times daily.
Luckily for Kia, she is not afraid of needles and injects herself four times a day with an insulin pen.
‘‘It’s easy. I do it at school. I check my blood sugar and eat if I have to and then check it again,’’ she said.
It’s important for people with the disease to check their blood sugar level because if it goes below 4 mmol/L, they can suffer hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose).
‘‘I’ve had a lot of hypos,’’ Kia said, whose lowest reading was 1.2.
‘‘I get headaches and tummy aches and feel really dizzy.
‘‘When this happens, I have to have sugar, so I’ll usually have a 125ml full sugar soft drink or lollies.’’
For James Bentley, 9, his lollies of choice are snakes or jellybeans.
The first 12 months after being diagnosed, James had to wake up at 2am every day to check his blood sugar level, because most people suffer ‘hypos’ at night.
James has been living with the disease for more than two and a half years, but he still remembers the shock he felt when he was told he had diabetes.
‘‘It made me feel like I was different from everyone,’’ he said.
‘‘Whenever I had to do my finger prick (blood sugar test), everyone would look at me.
‘‘I felt like I was the only one.’’
James is the only child at his school, Moama Public, with the disease.
James’ mum Sue usually gives him his two syringe injections a day.
‘‘I do it when mum and dad are away or if I’m at a friend’s house,’’ he said.
‘‘I was shaking the first time I did it, but now I just grab a bit of leg and stick it in.’’
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not known, but it has a strong family link and cannot be prevented.
Although it has nothing to do with lifestyle, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in helping to manage the disease.
Mrs Bentley encouraged those with type 1 diabetes to play sport and be active, but stressed the importance of having sugar, such as juice, lollies or chocolate, every half hour during activity.
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