Diabetes Team Warns Symptoms Shouldn’t be Ignored

11th November 2022
Matthew McCarthy with Dietician Allie Birch

Almost 5 million people in the United Kingdom have diabetes yet so many people are unaware of the signs and symptoms. This World Diabetes Day, the Diabetes Team at the Ulster Hospital is committed to changing this.

World Diabetes Day is on the 14 November, the birthday of Frederick Banting who was a co-discoverer of insulin; a vital medication with those living with type one diabetes.

Like so many people, Matthew McCarthy, from Portaferry’s life drastically changed in August of this year when he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

However, Matthew’s diabetes journey started three weeks before his diagnosis when he started displaying symptoms.

Matthew recalls that that he needed to urinate more, and he had an unquenchable thirst.

Matthew’s family began to notice a significant change in his weight – he lost nine kilos and he suffered from severe fatigue.

Often these symptoms go unnoticed, however on this World Diabetes Day, the Diabetes Team at the Ulster Hospital is keen to highlight that these four symptoms are warning signs. This can be remembered as the 4T’s of Type One Diabetes symptoms, standing for: Thirsty, Tired, Toilet and Thinner.

Luckily Matthew knew from family experience that these worrying symptoms were not to be ignored. Matthew attended his local GP surgery who immediately sent him to the Emergency Department at the Ulster Hospital.

When asked about his feelings at the time, Matthew explained, “Driving up to the Emergency Department was a scary time, everything was so uncertain but as soon as I got into the waiting room I felt at ease, knowing that I was going to receive help.”

After some diagnostic tests in the Emergency Department, it was confirmed that Matthew had Type One Diabetes. From there, Matthew was sent straight up to The Diabetes Centre in the Ulster Hospital where he received medical help and advice on dealing with his newly diagnosed condition.

Looking back at his time in the Diabetes Centre, Matthew said, “As soon as I arrived at the centre, everyone was so helpful and friendly. They provided me with all the help and information I needed. During such a scary and stressful time, they made me feel comfortable and relaxed.”

When asked about Matthew’s involvement, the Ulster Hospital Diabetes Team said, “As a team, we are delighted to be involved in promoting World Diabetes Day.  We appreciate Matthew sharing his story with us, highlighting his experiences with the diabetes hub, especially at a very early stage of his diabetes journey. We are committed to highlighting the importance of knowing the key symptoms of type one diabetes and encouraging anyone with such symptoms to get in touch with their GP.”