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My son was struggling breathe – I had no idea this was one of the signs of diabetes

It was just a normal family trip to the swimming pool. Jack Anderson, then 11, began struggling to breath. His sister Chloe noticed he had started to turn blue.

He was rushed to Trafford General. Within minutes of having a urine test doctors told Jack’s mum Laura Bowker-Ford that her son had Type 1 diabetes.

He was taken straight to Wythenshawe Hospital where he remained in the high dependency unit (HDU) for two days until his soaring blood sugar levels were stabilised.

Doctors said if Jack’s condition had been left untreated for much longer, he may not have survived.

Laura, 29, from Sale , said: “I was in total shock.

“The most frightening thing was finding out if he had been left another day he might not have been here.”

If Jack’s condition had been left untreated for much longer, he may not have survived
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Prior to the swimming pool incident, the only change in Jack Laura had noticed was his weight loss. She had noticed Jack’s ribs had started to protrude and had booked an appointment with his GP.

“He lost about two stone really quickly,” says Laura.

“It was mainly in his body so it wasn’t that noticeable when he had his top on.

“We noticed you could see ribs and my initial thought was he had an eating disorder. I know it’s quite common among teenagers so I thought maybe it was that.

“The only other thing was how thirsty he was all the time. I had no idea it might be diabetes.”

The family have since learned Jack’s rapid weight loss and his episode of deep, laboured breathing were serious symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

After three nights in Wythenshawe Hospital Jack did make a full recovery, but he wasn’t allowed to be discharged until he had learned how to read his blood sugar levels and inject himself with insulin before every meal.

Jack now has to carefully watch his blood sugar levels and inject himself with insulin before every meal
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Laura says Jack should be able to do all things other children do, they just have to keep a close watch on his blood sugar at regular intervals, including through the night.

Other factors such as the weather, exercise and even a change in Jack’s mood can affect his diabetes.

It’s a lot for a child to take on board but it is something Laura says Jack has taken in his stride.

Jack and his family are keen to raise awareness of the symptoms of diabetes among children and raising money to help find a cure for the condition.

On October 1, Jack will be taking part in the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Fun Run.

To sponsor him, click here .


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What are the main symptoms of diabetes?

– Feeling very thirsty.

– Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night.

– Feeling very tired.

– Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

– Itchiness around the genital area, or regular bouts of thrush (a yeast infection).

– Blurred vision caused by the lens of your eye changing shape.

– Slow healing of cuts and grazes.

– Vomiting or heavy, deep breathing can also occur at a later stage. This is a dangerous sign and requires immediate admission to hospital for treatment.

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