7 Nov 2019

Ruby McGill on living with type 1 diabetes

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:27 pm on 7 November 2019

Most people have heard of type 1 diabetes, but not everyone knows how draining it is to manage day to day.

Of the 25,000 New Zealanders who live with the illness, young mum Ruby McGill describes herself as "one of the lucky ones".

Ruby McGill, type 1 diabetes campaigner

Ruby McGill, type 1 diabetes campaigner Photo: T1D Mastery

Thanks to her parents' financial help, Ruby has a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

Continuous glucose monitors are a life-changer for people with type 1 diabetes, Ruby says, but although there are three types available in New Zealand (starting at around $2.5k per year) none are funded by Pharmac.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and scientists still don't know what causes it, says Ruby, a former Diabetes NZ Director of Youth who was diagnosed at 14.

"Honestly, it's tough. There are no days off 24/7 and every time we eat, every time we test, we need to adjust."

CGMs help reduce the burden of living with type 1 diabetes by allowing people to keep an eye on their blood sugar at all times – not just when they finger-prick themselves to test it.

A person can then act pre-emptively to prevent their blood sugar going too high or too low.

"Insulin is such a powerful drug. Too much and I'm crashing really low, not enough and I'm running high on all the complications and symptoms that come with [type 1]"

Check out Ruby's Mastering Diabetes blog and Facebook page. She's also on Instagram.

Watch Ruby talk about her condition – My life with type 1 diabetes - it's a daily battle, with no days off.

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