Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Blood Tests Saved My Life Twice; He Looks Healthy Now but Jason Matthews Has Cheated Death Twice ... and He Knows Who to Thank

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Blood Tests Saved My Life Twice; He Looks Healthy Now but Jason Matthews Has Cheated Death Twice ... and He Knows Who to Thank

Article excerpt

JASON Matthews knows he is lucky to be alive.

And while medical treatment was what ultimately kept him going, the father-of-two credits the simple blood tests which identified not one, but two, serious illnesses, as what saved his life.

In fact, he calls pathology professionals the "unsung heroes of health care".

"Last year I started to feel really tired and run down - and I'd been putting on some weight around my face," he explained.

"Initially I just put it down to getting older. But it went on for months and eventually I knew I had to see a doctor.

"I'd get home from work and be passed out on the couch within 15 minutes."

His doctor sent him for blood tests which identified hypothyroidism - a serious infection which, if left untreated, can cause kidney problems and increase cardiovascular risk.

Hypothyroidism affects around 5% of Australians and is caused when the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones to regulate the metabolism, fails to secrete enough hormones into the bloodstream.

That causes the metabolism to slow down - hence Mr Matthew's lack of energy and weight gain.

Although the condition is more prevalent among women, affecting up to 10% of them, it also affects men.

Mr Matthews was prescribed medication and instructed to have regular blood tests to monitor his thyroid function.

Just when he thought his health problems were over, he was hospitalised with a diverticular upset - possibly the result of a bout of irritable bowel syndrome several years earlier.

Once again, it was a blood test that provided a vital diagnosis.

"I thought I was coming down with the flu," he said.

"It came on suddenly one night - I was shivering and had convulsions. I felt really cold so took a hot shower and went to bed.

"The next morning though I felt awful. I went back to the doctor, who assessed my symptoms and sent me for some urgent blood tests.

"The tests confirmed I'd developed sepsis from an infection and I was sent straight to hospital for treatment. …

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