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Sunday, December 4, 2011

X Factor star voices concerns of blindness due to diabetes

By Wendy Pulcella

Once again, the UK has gone nuts for the X Factor. Each weekend, the television is dominated by the singing contest and the British public love it! One contestant by the name of Amelia Lily has hit the headlines of late and not just for her singing talent. She recently revealed that she suffers from type 1 diabetes; a condition that can have a massive effect on the lives of people who suffer from it. In recent talks with the press, she revealed that she was diagnosed with the condition as a child and used to suffer seizures as a child.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body lacks cells that produce insulin. In some people, other cells will attack these cells and as such, the body cannot produce enough of this important chemical. Insulin regulates glucose levels in the blood and without it, levels can become either dangerously high or dangerously low. If glucose levels reach these extremes, it can have serious consequences on health. In extreme cases, seizures can occur, just as those mentioned by Amelia.

Part of the X Factor show involves singing in front of a large audience - naturally, when performing in front of such a large audience the body produces adrenaline. Adrenaline uses a large amount of energy, which affects blood sugar levels. In order to counter-balance these fluctuations, Amelia has to take appropriate action before she goes on stage.

Amelia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3 and has had to keep tight controls on insulin levels ever since. Because she has had to deal with the condition for so long, she can instantly recognise the signs when a hyperglycaemic episode is approaching. She will often start to shake and she will have an overwhelming urge for sugary foods. If she feels any of these signs, she must take appropriate action.

Amelia has voiced her concerns about the chance of losing her sight if she was to have a particularly bad episode. This can happen if the glucose levels in the blood vessels of the eye and irreparable damage is done. Amelia plans to use her fame to promote awareness of type 1 diabetes and to help raise money to fund the much needed research into finding a cure.

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