Re­gain­ing con­trol


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

DI­A­BETES was still a hid­den dis­ease in the 1960s, ac­cord­ing to Terry Atkin­son, and it was a com­pli­cated process to in­ject in­sulin each day.

The 57-year-old East Vic­to­ria Park res­i­dent has lived with type 1 di­a­betes since he was a tod­dler.

“Back in the 1960s it was hard be­cause di­a­betes wasn’t in the news as much, but now type 2 di­a­betes is out of con­trol,” Mr Atkin­son said.

“It was a lot dif­fer­ent in the ’60s and ’70s. It was hard to tell peo­ple be­cause there would be an in­stant shock, gasp re­ac­tion, so you tended to keep it to your­self.

“I’ve had to avoid sweet things like choco­late and cool drinks be­cause it in­creases your blood sugar level.

“Back then, it was a long process to give your­self an in­jec­tion – you needed to boil a glass sy­ringe and it Mr Atkin­son was awarded the Kel­lion Vic­tory Award for liv­ing with di­a­betes for more than 50 years. “My wife Carolyn nom­i­nated me,” he said. “I hadn't heard about the award un­til talk­ing with my spe­cial­ist a few years ago.

“I'm re­ally glad to re­ceive it be­cause I have lived with di­a­betes so long.” was quite heavy.

“As a child, I knew I was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent be­cause I needed in­sulin in­jec­tions.

“I ac­cepted it and never let it con­trol me. I con­tin­ued to play sport and I didn’t want it get­ting in the way.”

Mr Atkin­son said ad­vance­ments in the 1980s made life much easier for him.

“With dis­pos­able sy­ringes, these days I can be sit­ting at a restau­rant and give my­self a quick jab,” he said.

Di­a­betes WA health ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Deb­o­rah Schofield said di­a­betes tech­nol­ogy had pro­gressed re­mark­ably over the past 50 years.

“Blood glu­cose me­ters have be­come smaller, smarter and quicker and can now in­ter­act with smart­phone apps and com­put­ers,” she said.

“We now have Con­tin­u­ous Glu­cose Mon­i­tor­ing (CGM) which has evolved over the past 15 years to give us ver­sa­tile, re­li­able de­vices that mon­i­tor the course of blood glu­cose fluc­tu­a­tions in real time and pro­vide in­ter­ac­tive feed­back to the per­son liv­ing with di­a­betes.

“Ex­cit­ing next steps be­ing taken are the tech­nol­ogy of CGM in­te­grat­ing with in­sulin pumps, which opens the field for au­to­mated closed-loop con­trol, known as the ar­ti­fi­cial pan­creas.

“In other words, a sys­tem which can mimic the pan­creas more closely, rather than put­ting this bur­den on the in­di­vid­ual.”

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d472147

Terry Atkin­son has lived with di­a­betes for more than 50 years.

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