A WOMAN who was seconds from falling into a potentially fatal diabetic coma has told how a hero nurse helped to save her life.

Amyrose Cameron knew something was seriously wrong when she became severely underweight and noticed her hair was falling out.

A practice nurse at her GP surgery quickly spotted the warning signs of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes - and urgent tests confirmed she was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). 

Amyrose, 23, told the Glasgow Times: “The diagnosis was a huge shock and I was rushed to hospital. The situation was extremely serious  and my parents were told to come and say their goodbyes. I remember the trauma but miraculously, I pulled through, and have made a full recovery without any lasting complications.”

The experience has fuelled Amyrose’s mission to do what she can to educate others about the potentially lethal risks of Type 1 diabetes.  The life-threatening condition causes blood sugar levels to run high because the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Most sufferers rely on a regime of multiple daily insulin injections, finger-prick testing and carbohydrate counting to survive.

Amyrose CameronAmyrose Cameron (Image: supplied)

Amyrose, from Bishopbriggs, explained: “I wasn’t diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes until I was very unwell. At the age of around 10, I began experiencing insatiable hunger and thirst. I remember that I would never feel full, no matter how much I ate or drank, and I gradually lost weight. Looking back, I recognise that I had some very common symptoms, however at the time, the signs were not identified. 

“When I turned 13, my health took a drastic turn for the worse. I became severely underweight and I was perpetually exhausted, unable to participate in activities I loved like dancing and hockey."

Amyrose says the intervention of a relative pushed medics to investigate further for a proper diagnosis. 

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She added: “My aunt pushed for answers and that was a crucial turning point. A practice nurse at my GP surgery looked at my history and immediately suspected something was seriously wrong. Urgent blood tests confirmed I was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Her understanding of the signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes and her instincts proved lifesaving." 

Amyrose is bravely sharing her story to highlight to others the seriousness of having conditions like her go undiagnosed.

She said: “I want more people to understand that diabetes is serious and a condition that requires attention 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it can affect you emotionally as well as physically. I also want people to know that with the right support people can live well with the condition.”

Her experience has also motivated her to fundraise for charity Diabetes Scotland, who have helped her adapt to life as a diabetic.

She added: “After reaching out to the charity for support, I realised for the first time that I wasn’t the only person with the condition. 

“At lunchtime the first day, I remember all these blue and pink and red insulin pens coming out and thinking ‘oh, it's not just me’. Speaking to other people my age made me feel understood and part of something bigger. 

“I’ve witnessed first-hand how Diabetes Scotland’s work improves the lives of people. I currently volunteer with Together Type 1, a Diabetes UK initiative that supports children and young adults living with the condition.

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“I want to raise money to give back to the charity, so I’m hosting the Sugar Ball - to increase awareness and fundraise for Diabetes Scotland. On top of a lovely dinner and some fantastic entertainment, a key part of the night is to raise awareness about what it’s like living with Type 1 diabetes. I’m going to share my story and I’m hoping to have a clinician along to chat about diabetes. Raffles and activities to raise money have been designed to highlight aspects of living with it."

John Kinnear, National Director, Diabetes Scotland, said early diagnosis is key.

He added: “Anyone with the early signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes need to be diagnosed promptly, before they become acutely unwell with DKA.  

“Amyrose’s story serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of being aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and the early diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.  

“Diabetes Scotland’s work is much needed and wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and generosity of our incredible fundraisers. We are extremely grateful to Amyrose for taking on the challenge of organising a ball to raise awareness. This is no mean feat.” 

For more information about the Sugar Ball, click here