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Advice for people with diabetes and also their families

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Diabetes prompted Holly to adopt a healthier lifestyle and find her vocation

Holly Adams, 24, from Pembrokeshire was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2019. After struggling with her diagnosis, she embraced a healthy diet and exercise routine to manage her condition.

Holly said: “Although I showed pretty much all the symptoms it was quite a big shock. I was very overwhelmed and to make matters worse I have a phobia of needles! There is nobody in my family with diabetes, but the diabetic nurses at hospital gave me tonnes of support. The reason I went to the doctors to begin with was because my ankles were really swollen, I did have all the other symptoms like thirsty all the time, blurred vision, fatigue and dramatic weight-loss. However, I was also going through a break-up at the time so thought the weight-loss was to do with stress.”

When she was diagnosed, in December 2019, Holly had very high blood sugars and ketones and had to stay in hospital for 2 days, but was discharged before Christmas.

“After coming home from the hospital, I did struggle with the injections, but soon got used to it. It took a while learning about how my blood sugars reacted to different foods and I did put on around 10kg. Putting on the weight really affected my mood but learning about reducing my carb intake has steadied my weight.

When COVID hit and people started panic buying, I did feel anxious. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get the food I needed for when I go low. I was worried that if I had COVID that I would get really ill. Luckily, I wasn’t working through the lockdown, and looking back I am really thankful for the lockdown. It gave me the time I needed to research, manage and get used to my diabetes”, she added

Holly learnt what foods work for her to keep healthy and how exercise impacted her diabetes, with help from diabetes tech:

“I’ve noticed that exercise really helps keep my blood sugars steady, so I do CrossFit 3-5 times a week. I wear the Freestyle Libre sensor and find it so helpful, especially when I’m exercising, going on walks and out and about. 

Although, diabetes is a struggle, I do see a positive in it, I’ve never eaten as well as I do now and I’m taking care of my body better that I did before being diagnosed.”

Holly is a learning support assistant at a primary school working with nursery and reception class. She now feels comfortable with her diagnosis and management of her condition and hopes to study nursing at Swansea University to become a diabetes nurse.

Find out more about a healthy, balanced diet for diabetes

Find out more about diabetes and exercise.

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