Diabetes Type 1 Information
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 – where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin
Type 2 – where the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells don't react to insulin
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition that causes a person's blood sugar levels to become too high. Blood sugar is called glucose.
In the body there is an organ called the pancreas which is responsible for producing a hormone called insulin.
Insulin is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose in the blood.
Colin - A Real Life Story About A Diabetic Emergency
Colin is a 47 year old teacher from Amersham in Buckinghamshire. He teaches young people with special needs such as Down’s syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Colin has been type 1 diabetic since being 13 years old and manages his daily routine of blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration well. He eats healthy and enjoys a relatively active lifestyle. He is divorced with a 16 year old son who lives with his ex-wife. Colin lives alone.
March 16th began almost like any other day for Colin except he had skipped breakfast. The day before, Colin had become conscious of a diversion on his journey to work, which meant an extra 15 minute drive.
After hitting the snooze button once or twice Colin had decided that he’d munch on one of the cereal bars he kept in the glove compartment of his car. But only after joining the motorway did he realise that what he thought was the last remaining snack was in fact an empty wrapper.
By the time he arrived at college he struggled to find a parking space. He recalls swearing aloud to himself as he remembered that a conference for employees of nearby colleges was taking place that morning in one of his college’s lecture theatres. Colin had to park a 10 minute walk away from work.
When he finally arrived at work he entered via the college’s main entrance. It was shortly before 9am. Colin was feeling uncomfortable; he was usually in work for 08.15 and he had still not eaten. He decided to grab something from the vending machine. He wasn’t feeling great.
But that was before an incident occurred outside one of the classrooms. Three students were arguing and the situation seemed to be intensifying. Colin seemed to think that one of the students in the altercation had been suspended from attending college the previous week, but could not be certain.
Colin was feeling shaky and had begun sweating. He was unsteady and felt confused; Colin’s blood sugar had become dangerously low (a condition known as hypoglycaemia). When Colin tried to intervene, one of the students began to imitate Colin’s drowsy slurred speech. Another called out “He’s drunk at this time!”
Colin fell back against the door of an adjacent classroom with such a thud that it cause one of the students inside to open the door. It was Becca who happened to be in Colin’s tutor group. Becca has Down’s syndrome and was 19 years old at the time.
Becca tells her story here:
“I hear a big thud on the classroom door. I thought it was the teacher we were expecting for the lesson. I opened the door for her but saw a man slouched on the floor. It was Colin my tutor. At first I thought the other students had hurt him and I was very upset. One of the boys laughed and said “he’s pissed.” But then I remembered that Colin told us he does not drink alcohol and he has diabetes. I told my friend Natalie to go and get somebody to help Colin.
Colin was trying to say something but I couldn’t tell what. He had told us before about the special wristband that he wears, so I rolled up his sleeve a little bit and took out the special card from inside the wristband. I tapped the ID number into my phone and instructions came up on my screen telling me to get a sugary drink for Colin.
I ran back into the classroom and got the Ribena carton that I had opened and began squeezing the drink into his mouth. He lifted up his hand and held the carton by himself. He slowly got better thanks to my Ribena – which he still owes me for!”
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