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Max: "There's not enough information about being a real human being with Type 1 diabetes"

A big night out drinking didn't go to plan for Max when he had a hypo on the way home. And his mates had no idea he had Type 1 diabetes.

Watch his story, and read more about why he got involved in our new videos on managing Type 1 diabetes and alcohol.

 

 


When I first started drinking I had a a bit of a carefree attitude. I was an excitable teenager and diabetes wasn’t always at the forefront of my mind.

Max on growing up with Type 1 diabetes

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was eight years old, so grew up with diabetes from a young age. When I first started drinking I had a a bit of a carefree attitude. I was an excitable teenager and diabetes wasn’t always at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t really see what the issue was when it came to diabetes and drinking. I thought if I got drunk I would just test and see if I was high or low and treat it. I had no idea about how alcohol can spike your blood sugar levels and then crash later on.

I always meant to test my blood sugar levels while I was drinking, but it wouldn’t always happen. Sometimes I would think about doing it but put it off for a while, and then the time never came. Looking back I think I may have been a bit self-conscious about whipping a testing kit out in front of all my mates. I was also having fun and didn’t want diabetes to interfere with my night.

There have been lots of times when I’ve been drinking and things haven't gone to plan. There’s the night I shared in the video where I had a hypo on the way home and the people I was with didn’t know I had diabetes and thought I was just drunk. Another memorable time was when I was on a night out and must have caught my insulin pump tubing on a door handle. The tubing disconnected from the main machine but I was so drunk I didn’t even notice. I hadn't tested in a few hours and didn’t notice it until I got home, had a takeaway and then tested and found my levels were really high.

Other nights have been less dramatic. I’ve had times when my blood sugar levels have been high and I’m not feeling great so I’ll decide to go home early and save it for another night. But the night of the apple pie incident was certainly my most dramatic.


What I’ve learnt

My top advice is to test, test and then test some more. I know this often isn’t the easiest to do on a night out, but taking a couple of minutes out to test throughout the night will just mean that you can put your mind at rest and you can safely enjoy the night out.”

My top advice is to test, test and then test some more. I know this often isn’t the easiest to do on a night out, but taking a couple of minutes out to test throughout the night will just mean that you can put your mind at rest and you can safely enjoy the night out. As I’ve got older I’m more confident about testing my blood sugar levels wherever I am or whoever I’m with. Or if a club is really busy, I might go to the smoking area or the toilet. It’s been a conversation starter a few times, when someone has seen my Freestyle Libre or my testing kit and excitedly told me their auntie or sister also has Type 1.

I also always make sure the people I’m out with know I have diabetes and what to do if I have a hypo. I don’t always tell every single person, but I make sure a few people I’m with are aware and that they know what to do if there is a problem.

And finally, plan ahead for whatever state you might get in! Before a night out I’ll always get some Lucozade and a biscuit or carby snack and leave them by my bed for when I get home. Having to get to the kitchen to treat a night time hypo when you’re still drunk is not fun at all.


Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you won’t go out and get drunk sometimes. I think it’s really important to talk about it, and to hear people’s stories and share tips on how to deal with it.

Why I got involved in the video

I don’t think there’s enough awareness about living with Type 1 diabetes and actually being a real human making the most of life experiences.

There are lots of ‘naughty’ things that people with Type 1 diabetes do but don’t always feel comfortable talking about. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you won’t go out and get drunk sometimes. I think it’s really important to talk about it, and to hear people’s stories and share tips on how to deal with it.


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