Long term health conditions

Andrew - Interview 24

Male
Age at interview: 16
Age at diagnosis: 11

Brief outline: Andrew has type 1 diabetes and Coeliac Disease. He was diagnosed first with type 1 diabetes when he was 11 years old and was diagnosed with Coeliac 3 years later. He changed his insulin regimen and he finds that the short-acting and long-acting insulin regimen gives him more freedom to choose when and what to eat. He needs to have a gluten-free diet because of his Coeliac which means that he cannot eat wheat, oats, barley and rye. Says that his mother makes very good gluten-free cakes!

Background: Andrew is in high school and lives with his parents and sibling. Ethnic background/nationality' British.

Audio & video

Andrew was diagnosed with having Type 1 diabetes when he was eleven years old and remembers it came as a bit of a shock. He says that what he found hardest was to get used to constantly having to keep an eye on his blood sugar levels and learning about how to control it. He says that the medical team where he lives is very good, and that they have taught him everything he needs to know about how to manage his diabetes. Initially nurses came to his house to give him advice and support. 

In the beginning he started to inject insulin twice a day but now he injects fast-acting insulin every time he eats and long-acting insulin at night. He finds his new insulin regimen better because it gives him more freedom to choose when and what to eat. In his initial regimen he had to eat every two hours regardless of whether he was hungry or not.

His school is very supportive and there has never been a safety issue about him carrying his insulin kit and blood sugar tester at school. Initially other children did ask him if 'diabetes' was contagious!

At the age of fourteen he was also diagnosed as having Coeliac disease. His main symptom was frequent stomach pains. He had a blood test and it showed that he might have developed Coeliac disease. He had an endoscopy (using a fibro optic tube to look a your gut via your mouth) which confirmed the blood test result. Coeliac disease is closely related to diabetes and basically means that the person has developed gluten intolerance. As a result the treatment is to have a completely 'gluten free' diet. Gluten is found in wheat, oats, barley and rye. Adjusting his diet to be gluten free has not been a big problem for Andrew because he has found that there are many alternative foods to choose from. 

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