20-Year-old woman with diabetes tragically dies after 'refusing to follow medical advice'
Diabetes is one of the biggest killers in the world today, and living with the disease is a life-changing diagnosis. Characterised by the pancreas and its inability to properly produce insulin and digest glucose, finding out you have diabetes can necessitate a giant change in your diet, not to mention taking shots of insulin to help you survive.
A young woman was recently diagnosed with the disease, but failed to take the necessary steps to help her continue to life a long life. Although she had plenty of clarity about her diagnosis as well as plenty of time to get prepared for the difficulties ahead, she didn't follow medical advice, and tragically lost her life as a result.
Back in October last year, Natasha Horne - from Middlesbrough in the United Kingdom - checked in for a doctor's appointment, after her mother, 43-year-old Jackie, noticed she was losing a lot of weight, as well as being excessively thirsty and going to the bathroom a lot in the night. These are all signs of diabetes, and she received her diagnosis on October 16, 2017.
Natasha had type 1 diabetes - which usually isn't brought about by dietary deficiencies - but this type of diabetes is still treatable with regular shots of insulin. Unfortunately, after a strong start to her treatment, Natasha started to retreat.
Natasha, who was 20 years old and had been prom queen at her school, hid her diagnosis from her friends. She also began to miss doctor's appointments and failed to wear a medical ID bracelet to let people know of her condition. She also refused to take the insulin shots, saying: "I don't do needles".
Jackie and Natasha's father Stephen, 44, say their daughter's judgement may have been clouded by the compliments she received due to her weight loss, causing her to be more cautious about treating her diabetes. "If she didn't want to do something, she wouldn't do it," revealed Jackie Horne.
"But we were getting so concerned because of the rapidity of the weight loss. She lost around half her body weight in two to three months. And she went from a size 22 to a size 10 in six months but she didn't see it as wrong. She just didn't understand the severity of the consequences of not taking it."
Without the insulin shots, her body was short of the enzymes it needed to properly digest her food, and Natasha suffered three diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) attacks, the third of which in June left her fighting for her life in hospital. With urges to take the insulin shots falling on deaf ears and Natasha now legally an adult, she fell ill while out at a friend's in August, and suffered a diabetic coma which she never recovered from, passing away on August 22.
Jackie says that she aims to channel her grief from losing Natasha into raising awareness about diabetes. "Even adults are approaching me saying 'I didn't know you could die from diabetes,'" she revealed. "We tried everything we could. Now, while we can't bring her back, we can help make people aware."
Natasha's funeral will be on Wednesday, and attendees will be given a Diabetes UK blue ribbon to wear, in order to help the family raise funds for research on diabetes.