A female builder from Suffolk with type 1 diabetes reassures people that “there is light at the end of the tunnel” after diagnosis.
Chloe Bentick, 21, from Stanton was diagnosed at the age of four after she started downing glasses of sugar free lemonade and running to the toilet repeatedly.
Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times newspaper during Diabetes Week, she said it was fortunate her family knew the signs of the condition and got the help she needed.
She said: “Luckily my grandma has type 2 diabetes, and my mum had studied a little bit about it, so both my mum and dad realised instantly that these were early signs of possible diabetes.”
Chloe was immediately rushed to hospital where doctors took a blood sugar test.
She said: “The usual range for blood sugar should be between four and seven mmol/L, but mine was in the 20s, which confirmed type 1 diabetes.”
Growing up for Chloe was difficult at times because not many people knew a lot about type 1 diabetes.
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She said: “The only real pro I remember was being allowed to eat my snacks in class, and all my friends saying, ‘You’re so lucky you can eat chocolate biscuits in lesson, I wish I could!’ But they never saw the injections, the blood tests, or any of the bad stuff. They really don’t wish they had diabetes.”
As a young girl, Chloe also missed out on going to friend sleepovers in case she became ill in the night and no one knew what to do. Instead, she went through a period of time when she had to sleep with her mum because her blood sugars kept dropping to dangerously low levels.
Referring to it as the “worst period of her life” when it came to her medical condition, Chloe said her mum had to wake her about four times a night for up to two years to check her blood sugar levels.
Chloe said: I’d then have to eat or drink to get my blood sugars up if they were low. The nurses at the hospital just couldn’t understand why it kept on happening, which made the matter even worse.”
In adulthood, Chloe has found a happy medium, which allows her to manage her diabetes and also socialise.
She added: “Being 21 now, I still go out drinking with my friends – I’m just sensible and never go over the top for my own safety.
“Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two completely different things. People also need to realise that diabetes is a serious health condition, and you can easily die from it, whether you have it under control or not. I see a lot of people with diabetes who can’t get over having it, or can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. It is hard having diabetes – I don’t doubt that.”
Now she leads a full and happy life, which she says has proven that “diabetes doesn’t have to get in your way at all. There is light at the end of the tunnel”.