Austin's journey being diagnosed and learning to manage his diabetes

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Austin's journey being diagnosed and learning to manage his diabetes

A little over a year ago, as an 18 year-old, Austin found himself needing open-heart surgery. A tough situation to be in for a person of any age. Shortly after his surgery , he was admitted to hospital with pericarditis – a swelling of the saclike tissue around the heart. During this visit, Austin’s blood sugar was tested and it was discovered that he has type-one diabetes.

Two weeks after being diagnosed, Austin had come to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital with another spell of pericarditis. Wanting Austin to have access to the best resources available to him for his diabetes, the team referred him to Mackenzie Health’s Diabetes Education Program to help him better monitor and manage his condition.

“While I hadn’t gone to the emergency department specifically for my diabetes, I likely would have had to within a few days as I was having some pretty sever DKA,” tells Austin. Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) develops when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to allow blood sugar into your cells for use as energy.

All too often, as young adults with diabetes move away from home for the first time, they become less vigilant with their routine and self-care. This can sometimes result in preventable trips to the emergency department.  For Austin, going away to school was been made easier by still having access to his support team in our Diabetes Education Program. Through virtual calls, Austin’s been able to stay in touch with his doctor, nurse, dietitian and extended support team to help him stay on top of his numbers, review how he’s eating and exercising and how he’s managing his condition in general.

Transitioning to a young adult managing his diabetes has its difficulties but Austin’s up for the challenge.  “It’s definitely a big lifestyle change, always having to think about what your blood sugars are doing and how you’re going to deal with it. It’s obviously a lot harder not just being able to have a snack here and there without wondering what your blood sugars are going to be like,” explains Austin. “But now that I’ve had some time to adjust to the lifestyle changes, it’s not as much of a nuisance as it was originally. The team at Mackenzie Health is really good at knowing what you’re going through and helping you through it.”

While Austin found out about his diabetes as he transitioned into adulthood, many children who grow up with this condition find themselves in a very similar situation: growing up, moving away to school and having to make sure they’re in a good place mentally and physically to manage their condition.

To access the services that helped Austin, visit the Diabetes Education page on our website to learn more: Diabetes Education - Mackenzie Health