When Jordan Ford was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, there was no way he was going to let it stop him playing football.
The 26 year old electrician has played over 100 games for the North Bendigo Football Club. He started out playing for the Under 12s when he was 10, and has been hooked since then.
It was when Mr Ford was 18 years old that be began to find himself constantly thirsty, always going to the toilet, and consistently fatigued.
His older sister, who is also a diabetic, tested him with her blood glucose monitor.
His sugar levels showed up far too high, so he went to hospital where his diabetes was diagnosed.
Since then, Mr Ford has been able to lead an almost entirely normal life.
He’s not “lucky”, however, he says.
He owes his good health to careful management of his blood sugar.
“In terms of your life, you don’t even realise you have it most of the time,” Mr Ford said.
“You can still lead a normal life, you’ve just got to watch what you eat. Keep an eye on your sugar levels, test yourself regularly, and you’ve just got to keep on top of it, don’t let it get away from you.”
Mr Ford’s symptoms were typical of Type 1 diabetes.
Thirst, frequently going to the toilet, tiredness and weight loss can all be symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
It’s these warning signs that Diabetes Australia is seeking to raise awareness of during Diabetes Awareness Week, from July 9 to 15.
Type 1 diabetes makes up around 10 percent of all cases of diabetes. It happens when the pancreas stops making insulin, which means the body cannot convert glucose into energy.
It is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are
It’s now been eight or nine years since Mr Ford’s diagnosis, and it hasn’t slowed him down at all.
Playing footy is probably his top interest.
“Love the game,” he said.
“It’s my favourite thing to do, to stay active, the camaraderie, great way to make friends.”
Managing sugar levels during the game is his primary challenge. Playing footy can trigger adrenaline levels, which can shoot the sugar levels up and down.
However, Mr Ford always makes sure to have a banana and a powerade handy, as well as his old man by the side with a glucose tester to check his sugar levels every break.
And the payoff from playing sport is invaluable for Mr Ford’s heath. Being physically active helps him to manage his blood glucose.
“Constantly checking yourself, eating healthy and staying active is really important,” Mr Ford said.
“I find my sugar levels are really easy to control when I’m active and playing footy, so it definitely helps.”