Sud­den di­a­betes di­ag­no­sis huge wake-up call

The Dominion Post - - Capital Day - JAMES PAUL

Karen Turner didn’t re­alise the dam­age her un­healthy eat­ing habits were hav­ing on her body.

Ex­hausted from her full-time com­mer­cial clean­ing shifts, she would be too knack­ered to cook her­self a de­cent meal and would eat what­ever was around the house or or­der take­aways.

Then one morn­ing the Up­per Hutt mother woke to blur­ri­ness and dark­ness.

She had lost enough of her vi­sion that she couldn’t make out the trees out­side her bed­room win­dow.

‘‘Hon­estly, the only thing that woke me up was los­ing some of my vi­sion,’’ Turner said.

Be­fore the par­tial blind­ness, Turner was con­stantly tired, over­hy­drat­ing, get­ting headaches, and feel­ing pins and nee­dles in her hands and feet.

A GP visit re­sulted in a blood test, and an im­me­di­ate call back when the rea­son for her strug­gles be­came ap­par­ent.

‘‘He said I needed to stop what I was do­ing, that I was at risk of drop­ping dead, look­ing at early stages of liver and kid­ney fail­ure.

‘‘I couldn’t let my lit­tle girl grow up with­out a mother, es­pe­cially over some­thing that I have com­plete con­trol of.’’

Weigh­ing 99 kilo­grams, the doc­tor di­ag­nosed the 38-year-old with type 2 di­a­betes. She was put on Met­formin to try to con­trol her blood su­gars - her gly­cated haemoglobin (HbA1C) level was twice as

"Di­a­betes doesn't dis­crim­i­nate and for me I needed to change my life dras­ti­cally. I now re­alise how stupid I was not to re­alise I was in trou­ble." Karen Turner

high as an av­er­age adult.

A di­a­betes nurse spe­cial­ist men­tioned Jump­start - Welling­ton re­gion’s first pro­gramme de­signed to help peo­ple with type 1 or 2 di­a­betes, or those at risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes, to man­age their health.

Turner com­mit­ted her­self to the pro­gramme’s 10-week course, tak­ing in its lessons on ex­er­cise and nu­tri­tion. At­tend­ing the lo­cal YMCA gym and be­ing more aware of in­gre­di­ents and por­tion con­trol, Turner has since lost 9kg, 10 cen­time­tres around her hips and has no eye­sight prob­lems.

Her su­gars are now at a nor­mal level and she’s slowly be­ing weaned off Met­formin.

‘‘Di­a­betes doesn’t dis­crim­i­nate and for me I needed to change my life dras­ti­cally. I now re­alise how stupid I was not to re­alise I was in trou­ble.

‘‘To turn it around, thanks to the pro­gramme and the YMCA train­ers, I’m now in a much bet­ter place. And I have more en­ergy for my fam­ily.’’

Type 2 di­a­betes suf­ferer Karen Turner: ‘‘I couldn’t let my lit­tle girl grow up with­out a mother, es­pe­cially over some­thing that I have com­plete con­trol of’’.

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