Knowing where to start with your diagnosis of diabetes can be a challenge. But it’s not a challenge you have to face alone. Here we share stories from people who recall how they came to terms with their diagnosis and adjusted to life with diabetes.

Hollie BeattieJuly 2023


My diagnosis came about by chance. I hadn’t been experiencing any of the typical signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. I went to the GP with a chest complaint, the GP ran some blood tests one of which was my long-term blood sugar level called HbA1c and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I was shocked and felt numb.  

There is no history of diabetes in my family, and up to that point I thought type 2 diabetes was a condition only older people develop - I am only 29. I then felt absolutely devastated because the GP went on to talk to me about serious complications associated with diabetes and diabetes medications. I burst into tears. 

My GP recommended I started taking diabetes medication and said that a diabetes nurse would contact me within a number of weeks to carry out the checks it is important to have when you have diabetes, like checking my blood pressure, weight and feet.  

I felt really strongly about not immediately going on medication and I asked if I could hold off on starting tablets and try managing my blood sugar levels by making changes to my diet and introducing exercise into my life. My GP said yes as long as I agreed to closely monitor my blood sugars levels using a blood glucose monitor that the practice gave me and let them know if they remained high or I was worried. 

Read Hollie Beattie's complete story


Getting support

Our son Eddie is 5 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before Christmas 2021. He was 3 and a half years old, and it came as a great shock to us as no one in our families has diabetes. 

I found it very difficult coming to terms with Eddie’s diagnosis and I didn’t realise the impact it would have on our family and our day to day lives.

"I really struggled with my mental health, and I had to go to my GP to ask for support. It was a difficult step, but I am so glad I did it. I knew I had to be there for my family and if I wasn’t well then it would make everything more difficult." 


Whilst the medical care was amazing, we didn’t find there was much support near us for families who have newly diagnosed young children. Being able to talk to families who had been through it already or anyone who could relate to the trauma involved, particularly in those early stages, would have been invaluable. We don’t want other families feeling like we did in those early days after diagnosis.

Nine months after Eddie was diagnosed, we went on a Diabetes UK weekender for families in Cambridge. It was just the right time for our family and something we could all do together. It was absolutely amazing. I cried and my husband cried. There were lots of volunteers in their 60s who had type 1 diabetes and they reassured us that Eddie was going to be OK and that they had had a very nice life. It helped us a lot.

Read Kirsty's complete story
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Newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 27. It was actually me who mentioned the possibility of diabetes to the GP as I was quite thirsty and peeing a lot. I was sent to a local hospital, and they gave me so much good advice. 

But diabetes complications started to catch up with me when I had a blocked artery in my heart in 2019. And then last year I was in hospital seven times because of complications with my feet

Read Paul's complete story


"It never crossed my mind I had diabetes"

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago at the age of 42. I was admitted to hospital with an infection in my knee. They did a blood test and said: ‘you’re diabetic’. It was quite a shock. There were signs, looking back, I was drinking a lot of water and was tired a lot. I just didn’t join the dots. It never crossed my mind. 

As my dad has type 1 diabetes I knew quite a lot about diabetes. I also knew how insulin works in the body and also some of the difficulties of living with the condition. (I’ve got A levels in Chemistry and Biology and a Chemistry degree). 

Initially I didn’t get much healthcare support. They said they’d make an appointment with a dietitian and that never happened. They did offer a three-month gym membership but that’s not my thing so I turned it down. I get my annual checks with the GP and three monthly HbA1c checks.

When I was diagnosed, I became a member of Diabetes UK. The magazine (Balance) is good and I like the stories and the recipes. I also went online and a did a ridiculous amount of research about the condition. 

After I’ve done the Liverpool Wellness walk, I’m going to try and find a local half marathon to walk.  

Read Sean's complete story
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Tim Hill

A type 2 diagnosis

My diagnosis essentially came about by luck. My doctor had told me I had high blood pressure, but it wasn’t until I took a trip to the opticians and they picked up a spot in my eye, that I got tested for the condition. I told my boss about the spot in my eye, and it was him who encouraged me to get tested – he lives with the condition so knows only too well how serious it is.  

I was then very quickly given a type 2 diabetes diagnosis by my doctor. It was such a wake-up call.  

Read Tim Hill's complete story
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