Diabetes Type 2

Shahnaz - Interview 01

Age at interview: 54
Age at diagnosis: 31

Brief outline: Shahnaz was diagnosed 23 years ago, when she was pregnant with her fourth child. She takes insulin and is having kidney dialysis.

Background: Shahnaz is a widow and mother of five children aged 21, 23, 25, 27 and 28. Ethnic background/Nationality: Pakistani muslim.

Audio & video

Shahnaz was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was pregnant with her fourth child, while she was still living in Pakistan. She experienced burning in her feet and extreme tiredness in a way that she hadn't felt ever before. Her doctors insisted on a blood glucose test, and that led to a diagnosis of diabetes. The doctors had hoped that it was gestational diabetes and would pass after the birth of the baby, but Shahnaz's blood glucose remained high. She had a fifth child and had to take tablets during her pregnancy. 

Shahnaz believes that her blood glucose stayed high despite the tablets she had been given and it was only after she was put on insulin, after she came to England 10 years ago, that her glucose levels stabilised at lower levels. She is also very careful about her diet and avoids sweets and sugary things. 

Between 2000-2001, because of the combined effect of diabetes and high blood pressure, Shahnaz had a haemorrhage in her eyes, and the doctors had to operate on her to drain the blood. Since then she has lost most of her sight in both eyes. In 2000, she also started having swelling in her legs and on investigation it turned out that her kidneys were failing, and were only 10% effective. Since then she has been having dialysis three times a week, for 3-3.5 hours each time. 

Shahnaz's family have been very supportive. She had felt despondent and upset when she became ill, especially when she began dialysis, but her family gave her lots of courage and helped her through difficult times. So for the past five years she's been active and busy cooking, shopping, going to Pakistan on holiday and enjoying her life.


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