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Undiagnosed diabetes, could be fatal

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Ian Dobson with his scar from a quadruple bypass surgery, which resulted in the removal of a vein in his forearm. Photo - Meg Kennedy

By Meg Kennedy

Ballan resident Ian Dobson was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes almost 12-years ago.
“I was a farmer and I used to eat like a horse, and always busy,” he said.
“Then I didn’t stop eating, my wife didn’t stop cooking like she was cooking, and I didn’t like waste, so I’d eat it,” he said.
National Diabetes Week, held 14-20 July 2019, aims to grow awareness about the early warning signs of type 1 diabetes and the dangers of type 2 diabetes, if not detected early.
Type 2 diabetes is often caused by genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle, with possible dangers including blindness, kidney damage, heart attack, and amputation.
Mr Dobson said his first signs of Type 2 diabetes were “almost invisible”.
He also suffers from Trigeminal neuralgia – also known as ‘suicide disease’ – which Mr Dobson described “as one of the worst pains you can imagine…like an electric shock that goes in your brain”.
A change in medication for the disease saw Mr Dobson feel pains in his chest, and was warned by his doctor that if they continued to ring triple-000.
One night of pains saw Mr Dobson’s wife call the ambulance after he went to bed, leaving Mr Dobson receiving the shock of his life.
He was rushed to hospital in Geelong with doctors discovering 99 percent of the right side of his heart blocked.
Although a stent was successfully put in, that wasn’t the end of Mr Dobson’s health scare: he found himself back in hospital again after falling in his garden, being knocked unconscious for around 45 minutes.
Lucky enough his wife and son were home to find Mr Dobson, and it was discovered during a three-day stay in ICU in Ballarat that the left side of his heart was 75 percent blocked.
Mr Dobson was rushed back to Geelong for a quadruple bypass surgery, with veins removed from his arms and left leg.
Now free of diabetes, Mr Dobson attributes a change in lifestyle to his health improvements.
“It was a blessing I think,” he said.
For what people should be more aware of, Mr Dobson said more people need to know “how insidious the disease is and how dangerous it is” and that nobody is invincible.
“I could have been not ever having diabetes if I had of done what [my doctor] said…that’s the thing I can’t stress enough, really,” he said.
“If it wasn’t for my wife, I would’ve probably died in bloody bed.”
If not diagnosed in time, diabetes can be fatal.
Signs that require immediate attention for diabetes include the ‘four Ts’ – frequent toilet use, tired, thirst, and thinness (weight loss).
Ballan District Health & Care’s new Diabetes Educator, Anne Harvey, said “a diabetes diagnosis is certainly a life change.”
“I am passionate about educating the newly-diagnosed on type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including on day-to-day management, healthy eating options, physical activity and how to prevent the complications of diabetes,” she said.
As well as diabetes education, Ballan District Health & Care also offers care planning for community members living with a chronic disease such as diabetes.
For more information on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au.
To book an appointment with BDHC, call 5366 7999.