CHRISTINE Verrinder lived with diabetes and its complications for almost 60 years – and her son, Mark, believes there is still too much ignorance about the potentially devastating long-term effects.

Newport-born Mrs Verrinder, who lived in Rogerstone, died at the Royal Gwent Hospital in March, aged 65.

For many years she had been cared for by her husband, Michael, and was also coping with a catalogue of other health problems.

“Mum was a strong character and battled many illnesses related to her diabetes,” said Mr Verrinder.

“She struggled for many years with various medical complaints, including COPD, (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), liver and kidney problems, neuropathy (painful nerve damage) and other complaints related to Type One diabetes,” he said.

Mrs Verrinder was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital in January with breathing difficulties, and while there suffered a cardiac arrest. After several weeks in hospital she went home towards the end of February, but was taken back into hospital, where she died on March 3 following two more cardiac arrests.

The family subsequently discovered she had been suffering from heart disease.

“She had been diabetic since she was six years old and it was just something she and the family lived with,” said Mr Verrinder, who chose to speak about his mother’s battle with the disease to mark Diabetes Week.

“As I understand it, we don’t realise just how serious diabetes is, particularly in terms of the complications.

“It’s very important that people understand what this disease can do. It can cause so many other problems.”

Diagnosed with Type One (insulin-dependent) diabetes on her sixth birthday in 1952, Mrs Verrinder had to cope with daily insulin injections from a young age, and in her early teens spent two years at a hospital for diabetes patients in Kent.

Ten years ago she was awarded the Alan Nabarro Medal, given to people who have lived with diabetes for 50 years.

Diabetes: Facts and figures

AROUND one in 25 people in the UK have diabetes, the vast majority having the Type Two (non-insulin-dependent) variety.

According to the charity Diabetes UK, 3.7 million are living with the disease UKwide, and up to seven million others are at risk of developing Type Two diabetes, which is strongly linked to poor lifestyles in terms of diet, exercise and smoking.

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