The wonders of modern medical science have changed the life of a fun-loving, young Braes woman.
Angela Wilson’s quality of life has been hampered ever since she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 13.
But a revolutionary treatment is giving her a new lease of life.
The 21-year-old from Polmont, who has just graduated from a four-year social work degree course, suffered up to three ‘hypos’ a week before she followed in her big sister’s footsteps and was fitted with an insulin pump.
Hypos (hypoglycemia) are triggered when blood-sugar levels fall. This can be the result of either too much insulin or too little food.
Angela’s heart would race and she suffered an array of panicky symptoms, from shaking and sweating to disorientation.
These attacks can be life-threatening. And the worst thing for Angela was that it could happen anywhere she went, causing her much embarrassment and anxiety.
But after seeing how well her sister Natalie (29) coped after having a pump fitted, she decided to take the plunge in May this year.
She said “I used to constantly worry about my blood sugar levels and there was always a fear in the back of my mind something would happen when I was out.”
“Having a busy lifestyle makes it harder to keep on top of your insulin with injections, but the pump is much better for me healthwise.
“It’s more accurate and only gives you what you need because sometimes, self-injecting insulin, you can give yourself too much or too little.
“When I’m out for a drink, having lunch or dinner or something, I can change the settings and set myself up with the press of a few buttons. The controls don’t draw attention either because it just looks like I’m on my mobile.
“One of the drawbacks is that a device has to be fitted inside you – mine is in my stomach. It’s a bit weird at first but I don’t even notice it now. Sometimes I have to check and make sure it’s still there.”
The Scottish Government wants 25 per cent of those under the age of 18 with type 1 diabetes to have a pump fitted by March next year.
By effectively controlling insulin levels, the pump can prevent the development of other problems associated with diabetes which can include blindness and limb loss.
Minister for Public Health and Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “Insulin pumps mean freedom from having multiple insulin injections a day – giving Scotland’s youngest diabetics a normal childhood. Not dealing effectively with diabetes can cause long term health problems and we need to make sure that the youngest people with type 1 diabetes get the best possible treatment as early as possible.
“That is why we have provided funding of £2.5 million for health boards to make sure that all suitable young people who need insulin pumps – 25 per cent of under-18s with type 1 diabetes – will get them by the end of March, 2013.
“Children and young people living with type 1 diabetes will have access to insulin pump therapy regardless of where they happen to live.”