A type one diabetic shares his top to-know list for living with the disease video

SIMON O'CONNOR/Stuff.co.nz

When Andrew Raynes recalls running away from his now wife, in a suit, at 11.30 at night, it might be the funniest first date story you've heard.

But when you learn he was just trying to survive, it could paint another picture.

Raynes, who has type one diabetes, said at the time his blood sugar levels were too high (a "hyper" reaction) and was a terrifying experience for wife Taryn Utiger.

Andrew Raynes has type 1 diabetes. He explained what it is, and what he does to deal with it.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Andrew Raynes has type 1 diabetes. He explained what it is, and what he does to deal with it.

"I wasn't paying attention and after dinner, I saw I didn't have enough insulin," Raynes said. 

"I started doing laps around the block, while all dressed up for a date.

"It can be scary for other people, especially for their first time witnessing it," he said.

Raynes said it was important "to know signs and monitor".
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Raynes said it was important "to know signs and monitor".

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Type one diabetes is an auto-immune disease that causes the body's immune system to attack and destroy the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

But when Raynes was diagnosed in 2009, he said doctors didn't understand how he developed it.

"It's unusual to be diagnosed with type one as an adult," he said.

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"Usually you're diagnosed as a child."

During the past seven years, Raynes has learnt the warning signs for both "hyper" and "hypo" - when blood sugar levels are too low - reactions.

"When I'm having a hypo, I get these hot and cold sweats and I ramble. When I'm having a hyper, I get really dozy and dry and could pass out."

Raynes said it was important "to know signs and monitor".

"Too often I see a movie or something where some guy is on a plane and passes out and someone yells, 'Quick! Get him his insulin pen.' But actually, the guy needs a bit of sugar.

"Then again I can imagine, 'get the guy some sugar' doesn't sound as exciting."

And after a recent article that announced the discontinuation of Jaybees jelly beans, a crowd of type one diabetics came forward to say the little lollies were the perfect quick-fix for when a boost of sugar was needed.

While Raynes said every diabetic was different, he helped compile a list of Dos and Don'ts for the Type Ones.

For quick release remedies, Raynes' go-tos include:

Mentos

"Usually half a tube of Mentos does the trick. But if I just want a little boost to keep me going, then usually one or two work just fine. The package fits perfectly in my supply kit, plus it gives me fresh breath."

Juice

"I like to drink a single glass of juice and wait 10 minutes to check my levels. If I need more, I can just drink more juice." (Raynes' juice of choice is black currant.)

Sachet Oats

"A quick sachet of oats may be more expensive, but it's much easier to handle. It's all measured out for you so you can just open and eat."

Dextrose Tablets

"Dextrose tablets were recommended to me when I was diagnosed. They're packed sugar with carbohydrates and they're a quick boost of energy."

A Can of Coke

"If a vendor is nearby, I'll get a Coke. It's nice because I get to try all the fancy flavours but I'm also trying not to die, so I can only enjoy it so much."

For a slow-release sugar snack, Raynes suggests:

A Sandwich

"White bread is a no-no. A whole-grain sandwich with some lean meat, sprouts and relish is what I like to make. I really like sprouts and the relish is not only tasty, but it has a bit of sugar in it. I've gotten really good at reading the back of labels."

Vegetables

"Vegetables are great because you don't need to worry about how much you eat. But, you usually have to eat a lot of vegetables to get enough carbs from them."

And absolute never-evers which Raynes said to avoid:

Dried Fruits

"They may be small, but they are packed with a lot of sugar. Take an apricot for example. If you eat a regular apricot, there's sugar, water and more to it to fill you up. But if you eat a handful of apricots it's just too much sugar and you have to be careful."

White Flour and Grains

"I love mashed potatoes and white bread, but you just can't have it. Maybe a little, but you need to limit yourself. Also rice and pasta are good to stay away from. If you want it, have brown rice but only a little. And have brown pasta, but just a little."

 - Stuff

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