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Hello,
I do not personally have diabetes but my mother does. She has Type 1 diabetes, is 68, & was diagnosed when she was in her late 20s. She has always behaved as though it is something to be ashamed of, & she has never taken care of herself properly.

My main reason for posting this is I'm hoping to get advice/opinions from any of you who know diabetics who do not take care of themselves properly.

On average, my mother has a diabetic reaction at least 2 times a week, more often 3 or 4. These reactions range from minor to severe. A few months ago, my father and I actually thought she was going to die. When the paramedics tested her blood sugar, it was 23 and this was after we gave her 2 tubes of glucose. My mother also has depression and takes many different medications. She has developed many health problems over the years and I'm convinced that many of them are do to her not taking care of herself.

When it comes to controlling her blood sugar, she usually takes more insulin or eats something sugary to "even it out".

A normal day for her is as follows: around noon my father wakes her up, she drinks a cup of coffee (by the way she only drinks coffee, tea, & wine, nothing else) takes her meds including insulin, eats a doughnut, muffin, or other morning pastry, then goes to any appts she may have, & goes back to bed around 3 or 4 until 6ish when my father wakes her up again to eat dinner. Dinner is the one meal she has a day & 99% of the time is followed by a bowl of ice cream. She then takes her insulin, watches tv, & goes back to bed around 11.

When she has a reaction, more often than not she behaves as though she is drunk and/or mentally disabled. Early this morning (around 5:30) she had a reaction & woke me because she was yelling, gurgling, and swearing. She also tends to flail her arms & legs. Is this normal? Or does anyone think that maybe this is caused by a combination of low blood sugar & her meds? Any thoughts or ideas?

I would also appreciate any stories any of you may have about diabetics who do not take care of themselves & what happened to them so maybe I can have some stories to get her to maybe take a little better care of herself...
 

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Welcome to you, fly . . . you have some really valid reasons for being concerned. I have no experience with this, so I'm going to defer to other more knowledgeable members, but I will say this: Your mom must be incredibly lucky to have managed so poorly for forty years and still have her sight, her kidney function and all of her toes. How sad to have ignored it for so long.

Thank you for joining us - and take care,

 

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I have to agree it is amazing she has not had any serious problems! By reaction I assume you are talking about a hypoglycaemic episode from taking too much insulin for the carbohydrates she has eaten. I'm not a type I, I'm a type II but I understand this is a tricky balancing act. Hypos are very injurious the health, the brain is essentially sounding the alarm that it is not getting the fuel it needs and is in danger of losing brain cells. A good strategy is to severely reduce your carbohydrate intake and so require less insulin and have less chance of overcompensating.

I would strongly urge you to get Dr Bernstein's book "Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. A Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars". He is a 71yr old Type I and a legend in the field. He will explain this approach a lot better than me!

I certainly feel for your mother and you and your father. The anti-depressant drugs are quite simply bad. My mother takes them and has had depression so I understand that people feel they are the only solution. She needs the tools to deal with her life before she can stop taking them. Something like CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is a real help to lots of people.

Hope this helps and all the best.
 

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Hello,
I do not personally have diabetes but my mother does. She has Type 1 diabetes, is 68, & was diagnosed when she was in her late 20s. She has always behaved as though it is something to be ashamed of, & she has never taken care of herself properly.

My main reason for posting this is I'm hoping to get advice/opinions from any of you who know diabetics who do not take care of themselves properly.

On average, my mother has a diabetic reaction at least 2 times a week, more often 3 or 4. These reactions range from minor to severe. A few months ago, my father and I actually thought she was going to die. When the paramedics tested her blood sugar, it was 23 and this was after we gave her 2 tubes of glucose. My mother also has depression and takes many different medications. She has developed many health problems over the years and I'm convinced that many of them are do to her not taking care of herself.

When it comes to controlling her blood sugar, she usually takes more insulin or eats something sugary to "even it out".

A normal day for her is as follows: around noon my father wakes her up, she drinks a cup of coffee (by the way she only drinks coffee, tea, & wine, nothing else) takes her meds including insulin, eats a doughnut, muffin, or other morning pastry, then goes to any appts she may have, & goes back to bed around 3 or 4 until 6ish when my father wakes her up again to eat dinner. Dinner is the one meal she has a day & 99% of the time is followed by a bowl of ice cream. She then takes her insulin, watches tv, & goes back to bed around 11.

When she has a reaction, more often than not she behaves as though she is drunk and/or mentally disabled. Early this morning (around 5:30) she had a reaction & woke me because she was yelling, gurgling, and swearing. She also tends to flail her arms & legs. Is this normal? Or does anyone think that maybe this is caused by a combination of low blood sugar & her meds? Any thoughts or ideas?

I would also appreciate any stories any of you may have about diabetics who do not take care of themselves & what happened to them so maybe I can have some stories to get her to maybe take a little better care of herself...
Wow, this is quite a story. I suffer from depression and understand depression. There are many studies that show that people with diabetes do suffer from depression. I take a couple of different meds for it. Without the meds, I probably could not get out of bed in the morning. Both of my parents suffer from depression, it can be genetic. Perhaps your mother is misdiagnosed or under diagnosed and may be on too much medication or the wrong type. Spending so much time in bed is a true sign of depression. You mentioned that she drank wine. Drinking alcohol and taking insulin in tricky. I have read that diabetics that drink alcohol and take insulin run the risk of low blood sugars.
I go low a couple times per week. I am able to take care of myself and treat the low immediately. I am trying to cut down on my insulin very slowly. That must be scary when she goes lows and reacts the way you described. If I were you, I would try to get the depression under control, this is easier said than done. But her depression could be causing her to not wanting to do anything all day. She probably lives in a dark world where nothing matters. If some of her depression is lifted, perhaps she can think clearer and thus make her more attentive to taking care of her diabetes. I think some of her actions sound to be mental in nature. She is lucky to have someone like you who cares about her. Many would just give up. You have your hands full, but thanks for caring about her!
 

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I have a friend named April who lives in England. She was diagnosed when she was 12. She refused to take care of herself, just like your mother. She ate whatever she wanted and would not always take her insulin. Her father took her to the diabetic ward at a hospital. There she saw diabetics with kidney failure on dialysis machines. They would not usually live very long after that. Others were blind or had amputations with missing limbs. She was so frightened by what she saw! She started taking very good care of herself. She ate proper food and never missed a dose of insulin. She has now been a Type 1 diabetic for 50 years and she has no complications. I wonder if your mother knows that all these complications can result from diabetes with poor control? Just because she may not have these complications after many years of diabetes does not mean she will never have these problems.

I was a Type 1 diabetic for more than 50 years when I started having some neuropathy in my feet and retinopathy in my eyes. I started eating fewer carbs (130g per day) and limiting my portions of foods that cause a very rapid rise in blood sugar. I increased my exercise every day. My control improved. Now my complications have disappeared.

Richard
 
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