A diagnosis of diabetes type 1 is life-changing. And around 31,500 Scots are living with the condition.
People living with type 1 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar and take insulin medication to ensure their bodies keep functioning properly.
When you’re first diagnosed (which can happen at any age, including early childhood and teens) there may be a lot to get your head around.
Here, three people living with the condition tell us things they wish they’d known when they were first diagnosed, or what they’d tell their younger selves now…
Chris Bright, founder of The Diabetes Football Community was diagnosed with type 1 at age eight, 22 years ago.
A journey of lows – and many highs
“You will wonder why it’s happened to you, why you’re on your own at times, and why you have to go through the pain, injections, sleepless nights, name-calling and hypos, Chris says.
“But this condition will teach you to be brave, never give in, and to recognise life is a precious gift.
“Through these lessons, you’ll believe anything is possible and push the boundaries of what is possible with diabetes.
“You’ll have structure and organisation taught by your diabetes routine, which will make you ready for the world.
“And the determination you have to show that diabetes will never hold you back, will drive you to achieve so many things.
“All you need to do is to keep believing and say yes to opportunities. Never let diabetes define your journey; just bring it along for the journey.”
‘What I wish I’d known…’
Donna Scott, 38, an Excel spreadsheets expert, was diagnosed while still at school.
“I’ve been diabetic for over 25 years and I wish I had known that not every doctor knows about diabetes. They might talk like they do, but it doesn’t mean they’re correct.
“When pregnant, I was actually told pregnancy doesn’t affect diabetes – my blood sugars definitely disagreed on that one!
“Also, take control of your diabetes, don’t let it control you. Diabetes is just one thing you have to live with, it doesn’t have to be your whole life.”
It’s a learning curve for parents too
Jude Hughes from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, is mum to 12-year-old twins Amelie and Albie, who were diagnosed with type 1, aged two.
“Overnight, you are a nurse, doctor, dietician, mathematician and a sleepless zombie!
“My specialist subject on Mastermind would be ‘carb contents of all foods on the shelves’!
“You need to be able to reason with them when their blood sugar is high so no, they cannot eat that cake/ice cream on the beach yet…
“You need to hold their hands when they cry that they ‘hate’ diabetes, and ‘why them?’ There are no words for that one.
“And you constantly tell them they are amazing and strong. And that they will be fit and healthy because they look after themselves so well, with so many hospital check-ups.
“My advice is to take it slowly, be kind to yourself as well as to your kids, involve their friends, their friends’ parents, and ask for help.
“Empower them so one day they can do it all without you.”