Knowing where to start with your diagnosis of diabetes can be a challenge. But it’s not a challenge you have to face alone. Here we share stories from people who recall how they came to terms with their diagnosis and adjusted to life with diabetes.

Sarah Parsons

Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 21, following a difficult childhood. From a young age I developed problems with disordered eating, then I was told by my healthcare team at age 13 that I was developing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which has since been proven to be triggered by my being insulin resistant. 

Following my diagnosis of type 2 I was put onto metformin. I then made dietary changes and lost weight and went into remission for a few years in my twenties.

But my personal circumstances became very challenging and I restarted metformin treatment. My disordered eating then worsened, so I subsequently took part in two weight loss management programmes, before I was referred to have bariatric (weight loss) surgery in 2013.  

Read 's complete story
Katie Smith

Katie SmithDiagnosed 2018


As a young woman living with the condition Katie, who works as a junior magazine editor, had been struggling to find people whose experiences matched hers. Key to that seemed to be finding someone in her own age group.

Katie, who is now 25 and lives in Camden, North London, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she had just turned 20 in 2018. Alongside the shock of the diagnosis came a feeling of dislocation.

She says:

“I remember being out with my friends and thinking ‘I'm different now, I wonder if I'll ever feel like part of the group again’?”

Prior to her diagnosis, Katie saw herself as a typical young woman. She was studying at the University of St Andrew’s, making friends and enjoying university life.

Then she started to experience all the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, including incredible thirst, weight loss combined with a ravenous hunger and tiredness.

“I just wasn't myself and I knew it,” she says, “But for a time I kept finding reasons to put individual symptoms down to working too hard or training too hard or not getting enough sleep.”

Then one night Katie had a lightbulb moment - her younger brother had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes many years earlier at the age of four and she saw the similarities between what she was experiencing and his condition. After a brief bit of online research she did a finger prick test at home and the result sent her straight to hospital.

Read Katie Smith's complete story
In this image, SALLY is pictured posing towards camera. The picture is framed from head to just below their shoulders. They are a drag artist, with bright blonde hair down to their shoulders. They are wearing pale blue crinkled gloves up to their biceps, with a matching head piece. They are also wearing a jewel necklace, with 6 rows of different jewels. They have hoop gold earrings that read 'babygirl' inside.


Noticing the 4Ts of diabetes symptoms

When SALLY was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of ten it was all a bit of a shock.

“It was a Sunday, I was watching a football match with my dad, and I was just really, thirsty. Way more than usual.

“When I got home, my mum picked up on the symptoms immediately, she took me to the GP, and I was diagnosed with type 1.”

SALLY’s mum, who worked in the NHS as a ward sister, helped them learn the basics but looking back, it was far from plain sailing. 

SALLY said: “My mum really supported me with getting to grips with diabetes when I was younger. She helped with testing blood sugar levels, treating hypos, managing my insulin and I got lots of support from my healthcare team. But as I got older, started college, and gained more independence I really began to struggle.”

Read SALLY's complete story
Kayleigh Steel

Diagnosed with prediabetes

When I was aged 19 my doctor informed me that I had prediabetes. I went on to lose four stone, and my doctor later told me that my blood sugar levels had returned to a healthy range. But my life changed when I moved to Bournemouth for university. I was working night shifts which altered my routine, and I was struggling with my mental health which led me to being signed off work. 

Soon afterwards my blood sugar levels returned to the prediabetic range. It was around this time that I moved GP surgeries too, which was hard because I felt like I was receiving mixed messages from doctors on the best ways to manage my health.  

I moved home once I’d finished university and I had a few life situations that were a detriment to my mental health. I was putting on weight through secret over-eating and feeling very low, while working shifts, and it felt like a constant juggle with so much going on.

Read 's complete story
Sam Dottin

Type 2 diabetes diagnosis

I found out I was living with type 2 diabetes nine years ago. I was hosting an event and there was a nurse in attendance as part of the event who asked if she could do a general health check. When she tested my blood sugar she saw it was really high, so she asked if I had any history of diabetes in my family. That’s when I found out I could have had type 2 diabetes, which was later confirmed by my GP.  

Read 's complete story
Back to Top
Brand Icons/Telephonecheck - FontAwesomeicons/tickicons/uk