News

Invisible no longer

by
July 15, 2017

Fiona Delai

Diabetes specialist Dr Balvinder Singh Kalra has treated patient Fiona Delai (back) for the last 18 months.

When Katandra’s Fiona Delai was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes about nine years ago she embarked on a ‘‘rollercoaster ride’’ to manage the condition.

But Ms Delai said she was initially unaware the symptoms she had experienced were due to the condition.

‘‘I went in to do another round of IVF and I was diagnosed,’’ she said.

Ms Delai is one of the 314000 Victorians diagnosed with one of the three main types of diabetes — Type 1, Type 2 or gestational diabetes — according to the latest figures from Diabetes Victoria.

The organisation launched its campaign — Invisible Condition — recently ahead of National Diabetes Week (July 9-15) which highlighted the urgent need for Victorians to learn more about the condition.

Diabetes Victoria chief executive Craig Bennett said diabetes did not discriminate.

‘‘People from all walks of life can develop diabetes — they come in all shapes, sizes, ages, gender identities and ethnicities,’’ he said.

‘‘You cannot see if somebody is at risk of developing diabetes.

‘‘Many people at risk do not have warning signs, helping them to understand that something is amiss.

‘‘Likewise, you cannot see if somebody already has diabetes, nor can you tell which type of diabetes they have. Diabetes is truly an invisible condition.’’

Goulburn Valley Health diabetes specialist Dr Balvinder Singh Kalra said patients could often have the condition but not experience symptoms for a long time.

‘‘The symptoms include being thirsty, tiredness and increased urination,’’ he said.

Dr Kalra explained patients could often become confused by these symptoms and believe that one was causing the other or vice versa.

Ms Delai said this was exactly what happened to her.

‘‘I used to experience a lot of tiredness but I just put it down to living a busy life,’’ she said.

Although still being able to enjoy life on the farm with her energetic five-year-old Laurence, Ms Delai said she must constantly monitor the condition.

‘‘I still struggle sometimes to get my (blood glucose levels) under control,’’ she said.

Dr Kalra stressed that a healthy lifestyle was the most important thing to decrease the risk of developing diabetes as well as to maintain the condition.

‘‘The key is weight loss,’’ he said.

Dr Kalra, who works at GV Health’s Diabetes Centre, said there was a service in place to treat the condition and people were welcome to attend.

‘‘We use a multi-disciplinary approach.’’

Ms Delai, who became Dr Kalra’s patient around 18 months ago, praised the staff at the centre.

‘‘They all do a really great job,’’ she said.

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