For most people, going to bed might be a welcomed part of the day. But for one UK woman with diabetes, going to sleep was her worst nightmare.
Claire Pesterfield has type 1 diabetes, but unlike many of the estimated 415 million adults around the world with the disease, Claire has no symptoms when her blood sugar levels reach unhealthy levels. So to make sure she doesn’t have a seizure or fall into a coma, Claire has to check her blood sugar levels constantly throughout the day and night.
“I’ve used all the latest technology that’s out there, and it still doesn’t give me enough warning to prevent the episodes, or make them less severe,” she said. “I would be up every hour, trying to check my blood glucose level, trying to predict when these episodes would happen,” said Claire who could never sleep through the night to keep herself from having a dangerous episode or even dying. “That meant that I was exhausted. Many a time I would be too afraid to go to sleep in case I had an episode and wouldn’t wake up.
That all changed when Claire brought home Magic, a medical alert assistance dog trained to smell blood glucose levels. Now instead of constantly testing her levels, she can relax knowing Magic will warn her if her levels change even in the middle of the night. “Magic can give me up to a 30-minute warning that I need to take action,” Claire said. “Without him I would be testing my blood glucose level every 20 or 30 minutes, to try and pre-empt what was going to happen.”
“In the three and a half years we’ve been together, he has alerted and potentially saved my life 3,500 times. And he does it all for a dog biscuit. I know without him, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Claire said. “Now I know my husband won’t have to worry that when he wakes up in the morning I’m going to be dead next to him. Simple things like that are very hard to put into words.”
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[Featured Image: BBC]