Katie Young from Wimbledon was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 4.5 years ago at the age of 35. She has recently started using an NHS-funded Flash Glucose Monitor – a small sensor that you wear on your skin that records your blood glucose (sugar) levels continuously throughout the day.
NHS England made a commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to make these life-changing monitors available on the NHS for people with Type 1 diabetes that meet the criteria.
Katie was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child when a random blood glucose test revealed her blood glucose to be higher than it should be. After a few more tests and a high glucose tolerance test reading, she was advised to start injecting insulin for the last part of her pregnancy. Katie admits that it was a lot to take in at the time but her healthy baby girl was born in March 2014.
Katie tells us: “When I was first diagnosed, I knew nothing about the condition really – no close friends or family had it and I felt confused and quite isolated.
“I was advised that I probably had gestational diabetes and there was no need for more treatment after the birth. This turned out not to be the case and when my daughter was a year old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.”
Katie’s second daughter was born in 2016 and it was around this time that she first starting using a Flash Glucose Monitor, or Flash for short.
“There’s no doubt the Flash Glucose Monitor has transformed the way I manage my Type 1 diabetes. I feel much more in control of the condition.
“Having two very young children and a relatively recent diagnosis has been extremely challenging. Flash has helped me pick up on hypos faster and treat them, especially if we are out and about. It’s given me an idea of patterns, especially at night, and sharing the information with my consultant and diabetes nurse has been crucial in my management.”
Katie works as a freelance photographer covering events such as London Fashion Week. Flash has been vital in helping her to manage her blood glucose whilst covering hectic events. She tells us: “I would have felt much more nervous doing this kind of work without wearing it.
“I now feel that Type 1 diabetes is a big part of my life but that it lives with me, rather than dictates my lifestyle. Using Flash has given me so much more confidence in what I can do and achieve. It’s wonderful news that such a crucial piece of kit is now available on prescription after the NHS announced that tens of thousands of people with diabetes will be given the life changing diabetes monitors thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan.
To mark Diabetes Awareness Month, Katie urges anyone struggling to manage with their Type 1 diabetes to talk to their consultant or diabetes nurse: “Type 1 diabetes is intense and 24/7 but the right equipment and mental health support can make all the difference in helping to manage the condition.”