Teen working to educate others about Type 1 diabetes

 Brianna Norris uses an iPhone attachment and application to monitor her insulin levels.
Brianna Norris uses an iPhone attachment and application to monitor her insulin levels. File

THERE have been many times when Ipswich teen Brianna Norris wished she did not have type one diabetes.

Along with the constant counting of carbohydrates and monitoring her insulin, she is also continuously asked questions about her condition.

Some people even try telling her what she should and should not do.

"We have kept a list of things that we've been told," Brianna laughed.

"We just try and joke around with it."

As part of World Diabetes Day today, she said it was important for people to know the difference between the two types of diabetes.

Brianna has type one, which cannot be prevented. But she finds a lot of people mistake it for type two, which often comes from lifestyle choices.

"Sometimes it does get quite frustrating when you have people asking you the same questions and telling you the same things," she said.

"Mum and I do a lot of work to try and get diabetes out there. Pretty much everyone at my school knows what type one is."

Brianna was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was five years old. She cannot remember what it was like to not have it.

"It doesn't really bother me. It can get annoying at times with all of the ups and downs but it's what I've always known.

"I think if I didn't have it, it would be a little bit weird because I'm so used to it now. But it would also be a nice change."

Brianna has been checking her own blood glucose levels since she was diagnosed.

At school every day she checks her levels at lunch time. Since she was eight years old she has also been using a pump to inject insulin into her body.

It replaces the need for constant injections and she logs the amount of carbohydrates into the pump, which is connected to her body most of the time, and injects small amounts of insulin when required.

She said the worst part about having type one diabetes was people asking questions and the unpredictability of her condition.

"With all the blood sugar levels, you feel so sick and over it," she said.

"And little things can play into diabetes levels like stress of school work and emotions."

When times are tough, she finds support from others who have type one diabetes.

Brianna would like to see more education around the two different types of diabetes and more funding.

"It's really hard to try and get funds in because most people don't know what they're giving it to," she said.


Diabetes facts:

Type one affects 1062 people in Ipswich:

The pancreas stops producing insulin altogether, making the body unable to turn sugar into energy.

To stay alive, patients rely on insulin injections.

Type one is somewhat genetic and can not be prevented.

Type two affects 8889 people in Ipswich:

The pancreas does not produce enough insulin the body needs.

Caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Can be initially managed through healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Topics:  type 1 diabetes world diabetes day

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