One of the things that I’m becoming increasingly aware of as I approach 30 is my health. That might sound strange, as you would probably think that life with type 1 diabetes would mean that health is at the forefront of my mind. Of course I worry about diabetes complications, but in the past I have been quite blasé about them as well as my general health.
Pregnancy puts a huge strain on your body. I spent time with a chiropractor to alleviate my sciatica and back pain in my second pregnancy, and feared for my general wellbeing after extensive morning sickness for up to 28 weeks. Toss in a year of breastfeeding JJ (and a year of feeding Piglet previously), bending to lift babies and toddlers and a pile of home DIY and I think it’s safe to say the last few years have put my body through it’s paces.
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I don’t have any major health concerns at this time, but I am also not where I was 10 years ago health wise. So what are the medical checks I have been looking at to make sure I am still fighting fit?
Diabetes Annual Review
Every year I attend a review of my health from my diabetes team. It covers a range of tests which give an overall look at my health, and a closer inspection of certain aspects through blood and urine tests.
We have a family history of thyroid problems and as it is also an autoimmune condition I am regularly tested for my thyroid function. I don’t have any symptoms other than tiredness – but I strongly suspect that it is related to the fact JJ isn’t sleeping through rather than any underlying conditions.
Your kidneys can be affected by raised blood glucose levels, and so mine are regularly tested. During pregnancy it was checked every 4 weeks but now I have moved back to a yearly test. This is done through a simple urine test and so far I have no reason to worry about my kidney function.
Celiac disease is another autoimmune condition that often goes hand in hand with type 1 diabetes. Once a year I have a blood test to rule it out – just to be on the safe side.
In my previous annual review it was noted that my cholesterol was rising. It is still well within safe levels, but as a diabetic they like to keep a close eye on these things. It has already been suggested that I start statins once I turn 30 if I am sure we don’t want to have any more children. I will be keen to see what my next test of my cholesterol levels show and see if a plan for the future can be made.
At the moment I have my eyes checked at the hospital once a year, but during pregnancy they were checked every 3 months. The screening is looking for retinopathy, a very common complication in people with diabetes. It can affect your eyesight longterm, but with regular screening it can be caught early and treatment given.
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I have been having smear tests since I was 21 (although I believe they are now not given until 25 now here in Scotland). I am due my next one in 2020, so I have some time before making that appointment. All of the appointments I have are important, and just because a smear test might make you feel uncomfortable it doesn’t mean it can be missed!
Body Composition Scan
I have been toying with getting a body scan. It can give you information such as muscle mass, fat mass, bone mass and body fat percentage. We have a family history of osteoporosis, so I would also consider a bone density scan. I currently have no reason for concern – but knowledge is power and early identification could be very beneficial.
I am very lucky that at nearly 30 years old I haven’t had any fillings. I am quite particular about dental hygiene, but I’ve also had 2 pregnancies where brushing my teeth made me throw up. I make sure I see my dentist every 6 months for a check up.
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So far this year both Piglet and my Dad have been to have their hearing tested. I used to get them as part of my routine medicals at work, but they are not particularly in depth and don’t give a detailed analysis of hearing. I have often found my hearing limited in certain situations and so I think the time has come to consider whether I would benefit from having my hearing checked.
Altogether I have quiet a few appointments coming up! I often feel like I spend half my life at appointments, but it’s worth it to know that I’m still fit and healthy.
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