Diabetes

‘I was fit and healthy so I dismissed it’: Sports enthusiast, 30, who drank 12 litres of water a DAY during dream world trip discovered raging thirst was symptom of potentially deadly diabetes

  • Carly Pink-O’Sullivan was walking long distances and swimming on dream trip
  • She thought she was suffering thirst, numb toes and hairloss as a result
  • But the Perth resident actually had undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes
  • Said: ‘I assumed I wouldn’t be affected because I was fit and healthy’

A backpacker who was drinking up to 12 litres of water a day was shocked to discover her raging thirst was a symptom of diabetes.

Carly Pink-O’Sullivan, 30, was walking long distances and regularly swimming during a dream world trip – and thought she was suffering from extreme thirst, numb toes and hairloss as a result.

But Carly, from Perth, WA, was actually suffering from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, and could have died every time she worked out.

Carly Pink-O'Sullivan (left) was drinking up to 12 litres of water a day was shocked to discover her raging thirst was a symptom of diabetes (she is pictures with Clare Sprlyan at the Run for a Reason marathon)
Carly Pink-O’Sullivan (left) was drinking up to 12 litres of water a day was shocked to discover her raging thirst was a symptom of diabetes (she is pictures with Clare Sprlyan at the Run for a Reason marathon)
Carly said: 'My hair was falling out and I was always so thirsty – at one point drinking up to 12 litres of water a day – and I was really skinny and always hungry but I didn't realise those were symptoms of diabetes'
Carly said: ‘My hair was falling out and I was always so thirsty – at one point drinking up to 12 litres of water a day – and I was really skinny and always hungry but I didn’t realise those were symptoms of diabetes’

Carly, who is also a nutrition and dietetics student, was diagnosed after a backpacking trip across China, Nepal and Europe.

The fitness enthusiast said: ‘My hair was falling out and I was always so thirsty – at one point drinking up to 12 litres of water a day – and I was really skinny and always hungry but I didn’t realise those were symptoms of diabetes.

‘I worked out every day, I ate a healthy diet and I was the healthiest person in my entire family – so when I was diagnosed I just couldn’t believe I had diabetes.

‘I assumed my hair was falling out because I was swimming a lot in the ocean and chlorine pools, it got worse as I was travelling in Bali but finally stopped when I was diagnosed and started using insulin.

During her trip she would often experience headaches, sweating, shakiness and double vision when working out – which can be signs of a potentially-fatal hypoglycemic episode.

‘When I was in Berlin in 2013 my toes were numb for a number of weeks and I initially thought it could have been because of the cold weather and wearing boots all the time,’ she said.

During her dream trip she would often experience headaches, sweating, shakiness and double vision when working...