“Don’t Pretend it’s not there”
A plea from Paul who ignored the symptoms & lost his lower limb to Type 2 diabetes
By the time we are 50 years old, most of us will have worked hard, studied, maybe raised children and our responsibilities may be lessening and hopefully we have saved money to fund our bucket list of adventures. So what might stop you in your tracks from enjoying the second half of your life?
Most commonly, poor health and more specifically Type 2 diabetes, BUT ONLY if you are in denial about it or Type 2 is not detected. There are 854,165 adults over 40 years of age in the Republic of Ireland at increased risk of developing (or have) Type 2 diabetes 1 and over 1.1 million adults in Ireland that need to change their diet and exercise habits in order to avoid chronic disease.
Many of us prefer not to know our health risks, cross our fingers and hope for the best. Detecting diabetes is a simple, pain-free, finger prick test at your GP surgery or at a free diabetes screening event. Good blood glucose control maintains glucose levels in the blood between 4 and 7mmol/L. When Paul Kenny, who appeared in Celebrity Operation Transformation, was initially tested at a Diabetes Ireland public screening in Tesco, Bray on April 12, 2008, his glucose reading was 27 and he was advised to immediately attend a hospital. Two days later he attended Loughlinstown hospital and got a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Paul had been experiencing “insatiable” thirst for a long time, he had been carrying excess weight and after a long day of hard work he came home and fell into a deep sleep for 1 to 2 hours. He was constantly going to the toilet but he did not know that these were the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Paul urges everyone to learn the symptoms and is annoyed that he did not know the symptoms at the time. He encourages everyone who feels they may be at risk to get tested.
Even after diagnosis, Paul was in denial about the condition and admits to “taking the tablets and testing his bloods on and off”. He states “I did not look after myself”. As a result in December 2014, Paul lost his big toe but was back to work after 6 weeks. His work ethic was and remains strong. His blood glucose readings at that stage were around 23 (remember normal range is 4-7mmol/L). He changed his behaviour for 3 months, taking his medications and eating healthily and his blood glucose readings fell to 10/11 mmol/L, a big improvement on 27. At this point he was doing less damage to his body but then reverted to his old ways. In December 2015, Paul lost his lower limb. Finally, the reality hit home. Paul was always an active man but needed to change his diet, adhere to medication and monitor his bloods to help him maintain those dietary changes that would keep his blood glucose readings down. He is a realistic man and accepts full responsibility for his loss. He gained a stone in weight due to enforced inactivity after his limb-loss but is determined to return to work and activity as soon as possible and will shed the extra stone. Paul is coping well, enjoying life but has regrets about his diabetes. Paul comments “I am doing this media campaign so that others will not make the mistakes I made. I am urging everyone to know the risk factors, know the symptoms, get tested if you are at risk and take diabetes seriously.” Type 2 diabetes that is well managed will allow you to live a full and happy life.
In 2015, 451 people with Diabetes lost a lower limb because of damage caused by diabetes. One person goes blind every week in Ireland because of Diabetes. One third of kidney disease is diabetes related. Diabetes is a condition you just cannot afford to ignore if want to enjoy life post 50 years.
- Healthy Ireland Survey by the Department of Health
Press Contact Diabetes Ireland would be happy to provide interviewees for TV, radio & press. Please contact Joan Moloney on 01 842 8118 and she will arrange the appropriate interviewee.
Diabetes Ireland is the national charity dedicated to providing support, education and motivation to all people affected by diabetes. We raise public awareness of diabetes and its symptoms and fund Irish-based research into diabetes.
2015 Amputations Statistics
Please review the press release containing the amputation and leg ulceration data.
2016 Nationwide Diabetes Screening Roadshow
MSD and Diabetes Ireland are currently running a nationwide diabetes screening roadshow at 23 pharmacies throughout Ireland. Check out your closest free screening at www.diabetes.ie/national-diabetes-screening-roadshow