Thirty-year-old Carly Pink-O’Sullivan was on the backpacking trip of a lifetime when she noticed her toes were numb, her hair was falling out and she started drinking 12 litres of water a day.
The nutrition and dietetics student also had headaches, shakiness and double vision when she worked out, amongst other alarming symptoms.
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Despite Dr Google suggesting she could have diabetes, Pink-O’Sullivan dismissed this web diagnosis because she was so healthy. “'I worked out every day, I ate a healthy diet and I was the healthiest person in my entire family,” she told the Daily Mail.
She assumed her hair was falling out because she was swimming so much on her holiday and her eight-hour hikes were the reason for all the extra water. And the numb toes? She put this down to the cold weather on her Berlin stopover and her walking boots.
Pink-O’Sullivan said she ignored her symptoms for three years. But when she started popping jelly beans during workouts so she didn’t pass out, she finally went to the doctor for a glucose test – then straight to emergency. Turns out, she had Type 1 Diabetes.
While Type 1 is most commonly diagnosed in people under 30, Diabetes Australia reports that almost half of all people who develop it are diagnosed over 30. Type 1 is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors – which explains why Carly could have it, despite being so fit and healthy. Symptoms can also occur suddenly.
The take-home: always see your GP if you have any concerns or notice unusual symptoms.