North Herts firefighter struggling with Type 1 diabetes is given lifeline
- Credit: Archant
When firefighter Daniel Fair was told he had Type 1 diabetes, his world was turned upside down, but new initiative telehealth has proved to be his lifeline.
Daniel, who lives in Hitchin, said: “I was due to go on a three-week trip to Australia in 2009 and was beginning to feel unwell. Then, when I was out there, I started to feel very poorly indeed. I was dehydrated all the time, sleeping badly and my vision was affected.
“It didn’t get any better when I returned back home. A paramedic checked my blood glucose levels - which are meant to be between 4 and 7 mmol/L before eating - and my reading was over 30. I had become dangerously unwell.”
Daniel went to the emergency department at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, where it was confirmed he had Type 1 diabetes.
He was started on insulin injections straightaway, which meant regular finger prick testing throughout the day, as well as strict new controls on what he ate and when.
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Daniel, now 31, said: “I had to make big changes but, up until last year, I was probably not managing my condition as well as I could have.
“I wasn’t testing my blood glucose levels as often as I should have been because I didn’t really want to see the results, and that’s probably why my condition gradually was getting worse.
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“A big turning point was the telehealth project the Lister diabetes team set up in 2017. Until then, the majority of my contact was with the diabetes nurse at my GP practice, who I see every three months or so. The additional support provided by the telehealth service has helped me to get control back of my diabetes.
“I stay in touch with the team using texts, with the occasional phone call. It allows me to raise queries, get reassurance and deal with any problems.
“I also see the team every two weeks as I’m trialling a new arm patch that measures blood glucose levels over an eight-hour period. It showed my blood glucose levels were dipping dangerously low at around 2am each morning.
“By making simple changes to my treatment with the help of the specialist diabetes nurses, we got rid of the problem quickly.
“Prior to getting involved with the telehealth team at Lister, my diabetes had taken control of my life. Now I’m back in control of it, managing my condition well.
“Every two to three months, I take a blood test that shows how my blood glucose levels have been over the previous 10 weeks, and my results are the best they have ever been.”