Gail Wellings, seen in the photo, cut her toe and ended up having her lower leg amputated. She had undiagnosed diabetes for several years, not learning of it until after her amputation.
"Sometimes there are no signs, as Gail Wellings discovered, when she fell on a kerb, cutting the big toe on her right foot.You can read the rest of her story, and another about a man whose first symptom was swollen legs (he lost two toes), here:
Although she wasn't in pain, the toe became increasingly red and the cut failed to heel.
After three weeks, she decided to see her doctor. 'I'll never forget the expression on his face,' says Gail. 'He took one look at my toe and said: "Oh no, Gail, you are going to lose your foot." I couldn't believe it.'
Gail, a secretary from High Wycombe, Bucks, was sent to A&E where, after a day of blood tests and X-rays, she was a told that even though it was just her toe that had been injured, she had no circulation in her lower leg and before long those tissues would become gangrenous, too.
There was no real choice but for her to have a below- knee amputation.
'It was a nightmare,' she says. 'One moment it was my foot. Now it was my lower leg. I was absolutely stunned because everything happened so quickly.
'I kept thinking, my life is over, I won't be able to play tennis, to run, to get around. But what amazed me was that when I came round from the operation I was told the cause was Type 2 diabetes.'
What so perplexed her was that she'd had no other symptoms. 'But now, with the benefit of hindsight I can see why I might have been a candidate for the condition,' she says. 'I was 56 at the time (the risks increase with age) and 2st (28 pounds) overweight. Doctors guessed I'd been diabetic for around four or five years, which is why the damage was so great. It was the most horrible, horrible time of my life.' "
Are You A Diabetes Timebomb? If You're Slightly Overweight, You Could Be One Of A Million Britons With Undiagnosed Diabetes, Daily Mail, July 27
It surprised me that diabetes was not suspected earlier in these cases. Being overweight (but you don't have to be), being thirsty, peeing a lot, and blurry vision are giveaways. The article lists other warning signs too.