A TEENAGER whose battle with diabetes saw his weight plummet to just 7st12 is calling for more awareness of the life-threatening condition.

In just three months, Jon-Paul Singh went from more than 12 stone to being critically underweight.

The 18-year-old, from Darlington, was drinking up to eight litres of water a day, not eating and suffering from pins and needles in his limbs.

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Not realising he was displaying symptoms of type one diabetes, the teenager only sought medical treatment after suddenly becoming able to see his ribs in the mirror.

Mr Singh visited his GP where a blood test - “just one prick of the finger” - saw him immediately hospitalised with his blood sugars at 44, more than ten times the average.

He must now regularly inject himself with insulin and constantly monitor his blood sugar levels.

The shock diagnosis saw the young man’s life change drastically and he is now calling for people to understand the condition.

He said: “You’re not really taught that diabetes is a serious disease, it’s not really talked about and I didn’t realise the serious complications.

“Every day living is the most difficult thing, not many lads my age have to stick a needle in themselves four times a day.

“It’s really inconvenient – a typical night out with the lads is drinks, food and sleep but it’s the opposite for me.

“I have to eat before I go out as alcohol delays my sugars and I could have a hypo, which is dangerous and could be deadly.”

The Darlington College student wages a daily battle in avoiding low blood sugars and the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.

He must also avoid the equally as dangerous hyperglycaemia, which is caused by high blood sugars and can cause nerve damage and blindness.

Mr Singh said: “It’s hard to take all of this on, but if I don’t do it right, there’s consequences so I’m fine with it.

“I’ve had to become an expert and I want to tackle misconceptions .

“There’s a lot of stigma - people think it’s something that happens to older people who eat a lot of pies and are overweight but it’s not about diet, type one diabetes means your body has given up on an organ.

“It’s a very, serious condition and if people are not educated properly then they won’t know what to do if someone like me keels over.”

For more information, visit diabetes.org.uk.