A MAN has credited an education course with keeping his diabetes in check.
Ahead of Diabetes Week next week, Barry Worrall, 52, of Lixwm, near Holywell, has spoken about developing type two diabetes.
Mr Worrall, who works for Chester-based Brandon Tool Hire, was shocked to learn he had the disease as he led an active lifestyle, both in work and at home.
He said: “I work as a depot manager so there’s a lot of walking around and my hobbies include breeding miniature Welsh mountain ponies, which is also quite hard work, what with the mucking out and getting up and down the fields.
“The first I knew of it was when I went to the doctor with a completely unrelated back pain and he did a few tests. He came back to me and said ‘do you have diabetes?’
“I said no, but I did. I have no idea how long I’d been walking around with it.”
Mr Worrall suspects his illness, which can develop in later life, was down to a fast food diet and his habit of enjoying a drink to relax.
He said: “We were so busy that a lot of our food came from fast food places or we’d eat microwave meals, which are often quite fatty or sugary.
“I wouldn't say I’d ever been obese, although I did have a bit of a belly. I think that was down to the beer.”
Although type two diabetes is associated with obesity, about one in five of those who have it are within a ‘normal’ weight range.
The disease affects the way the body deals with insulin, a vital chemical used by the body when it processes food.
Both types of diabetes, if left untreated, can cause severe complications, including blindness, extremity and limb damage leading to amputation, and even death.
Mr Worrall said: “I was told right away about the XPERT education course. It was run by the council and the Diabetes UK charity.
“They offer all sorts of information, from how to cook and prepare healthy food to how to cut down on the things that aren't so good for you.
“We’re still busy people, but we make food and freeze it, and actually it doesn’t take as long as you think once you know what you’re doing.”
Mr Worrall has learned to manage the diabetes, together with diet and medication, to the point where it does not interfere with his life.
He said: “It’s a bit scary to think that I had no idea that I’d developed it.
“I had no family history of diabetes whatsoever. I did find myself feeling a little bit tired, but I put it down to the day at work. Other than that there was no sign.
“It makes you realise a lot of other people out there could have something, and in my case it could have gotten worse if it hadn’t been for the back pain and I wouldn’t have had a clue.”
Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Week aims to raise awareness of diabetes in Wales, where there are more than 170,000 living with the condition – about 66,000 with type two.
To find out more about diabetes or the XPERT education course call the Diabetes UK careline on 03451 232399 or visit www.diabetes.org.uk