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Teen left fighting for his life due to Type 1 diabetes.

Byline: MARK SMITH Health correspondent mark.smith@walesonline.co.uk

A TEENAGER dropped three stone and was left fighting for his life after being struck down with Type 1 diabetes.

Alex Wellington became seriously unwell with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical attention.

He spent seven days in intensive care at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff but managed to survive.

"Before I was diagnosed I was very unwell," he said.

"I had lost three stone in weight and would sleep downstairs as I didn't have the energy to climb them to go to bed.

"I started to go downhill very quickly and was rushed to hospital where I was taken straight into intensive care.

"Doctors weren't sure initially if I would make it through that first night. It was a terrifying experience."

Alex said being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in August 2016 - just after his 17th birthday - was a "huge shock" for him and his family.

He said managing his condition every day is now his top priority.

"Type 1 diabetes isn't easy to live with, physically or emotionally, and there is a significant lack of awareness about how to support people with the condition."

Some 1,400 children and young people in Wales currently have Type 1 diabetes. Nobody knows what causes it, but the signs and symptoms can develop quickly.

Diabetes UK Cymru warns people to look out for the four Ts: toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner.

If you spot any of them, visit your doctor immediately and ask for a finger prick test.

Alex, now 18, is now taking on the 10-mile London Bridges Challenge on Sunday, October 1 to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

The teenager and his family will join hundreds of other walkers as they trek across 12 of London's bridges including London Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and finally Tower Bridge.

The walk will start at Battersea Park and the route will take walkers past Big Ben, the London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Diabetes UK Cymru's Know Type 1 campaign is raising awareness of the symptoms of the condition to help people spot them and diagnose quickly before the child becomes seriously unwell.

Dai Williams, national director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: "Type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening if not diagnosed swiftly and safely, and one in five children in Wales are in DKA when they are diagnosed.

"We are so grateful to supporters like Alex for helping us raise awareness of the symptoms by taking on the London Bridges Challenge.

"This is a fantastic family event and it is wonderful that Alex will be walking with his family by his side.

"Every penny raised will help us to support the 188,000 people living with diabetes in Wales so please give generously to back Alex and his amazing effort." | For more information about the London Bridges Challenge, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/bridgeschallenge | For more information about Know Type 1, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/ The4Ts | To sponsor Alex visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alex-wellington

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Alex Wellington become seriously unwell with diabetic ketoacidosis

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 27, 2017
Words:522
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