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How one woman has lived with diabetes for 50 years

Susanne Lissa of Springfield receives her 50 year award from Dr Alan Stocks AM, on behalf of the Kellion Victory Award Foundation.
Susanne Lissa of Springfield receives her 50 year award from Dr Alan Stocks AM, on behalf of the Kellion Victory Award Foundation.

BALANCING her blood sugar daily has been a struggle for Susanne Lissa, but thanks to medical advances the job has become a lot easier.

Ms Lissa, of Springfield, was honoured by the Queensland diabetes community at a Kellion Victory celebration recently to mark the start of National Diabetes week on Sunday.

At the tender age of seven, back in the 1960s she was diagnosed.

"I have made it to the 50-year mark of living with type 1 diabetes. Wow," she exclaimed.

"What a roller coaster ride it was for my family and I.

"But as a child and teen I played sports in my local community and life to me seemed close to normal.

"I was able to enjoy yearly diabetic camps where I mixed with others who had type 1 and they showed me that independence was achievable."

Like all who live with type 1 diabetes, Ms Lissa must balance levels of glucose in her bloodstream.

Careful attention is required to avoid hypos (low blood glucose) which can lead to a diabetic coma, on one hand and on the other, hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose) that creates a danger of diabetic ketoacidosis.

"Advances in care and medical knowledge has helped type 1 diabetics and their families everywhere," she said. 

"Being able to get an insulin pump opened up other options to me, and yes with the pump, I feel very strongly that I am living as normal a life as my neighbours."

Unlike type 2 diabetes, the onset of type 1 cannot be predicted or slowed through treatment or through diet or exercise.

It is an autoimmune condition which results in the destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

A total of 22,974 Queenslanders have type 1 diabetes and must inject synthetic insulin several times every day.

"I now take steps to achieving the 60 year Kellion Medal in the future!"

Ms Lissa received her medal from Dr Alan Stocks of the Kellion Diabetes Foundation.

Celebrating with her this National Diabetes Week were three 60-year recipients and six other 50-year awardees.

Topics:  diabetes awareness healthy habits springfield