May 18, 2013

Diabetes Symptoms to Never Ignore – Part 1

Part 1 of 2 parts

Warning – are you aware of problems you could have with diabetes? Many people think they know, but from the information presented in many articles and on different places on the internet, many people with diabetes seem to think that they are not vulnerable to these things happening to them. This is one thing our informal group does do for us and this is a great help. The group does keep us humble and we always have someone asking the right questions when we need reminding of problems we could develop.

This article in WebMD was a topic of discussion recently and there were quite a few valid questions raised. I will list the symptoms to never ignore and then cover some of our discussion points. Please read the article for your own comparison and information. Because Barry felt this topic was important, he asked anyone that had a portable computer to bring his or hers to the meeting. Elaine had hers setup and her husband had his desktop available.

Frequent Urination, Extreme Thirst or Hunger, or Blurry Vision. A.J. started us off and commented how important he found them to be for him. He said if I had not rattled them off when he thought he did not have diabetes, he would have trusted his doctor and probably gotten into more trouble. He thanked Barry for requesting this topic be discussed and this was good to have this type of article handy when discussing diabetes with people like him that did not think they had diabetes. Ben commented that the statement about how uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can lead to "dehydration and altered consciousness ... which could be fatal if untreated.” Ben said in the research he was doing, this might have been part of what started his depression. He continued that if Tim had not insisted on taking him to the emergency room, he does not want to think about what might have happened.

Acting Drunk. Ben said this was another reason he was happy that his brother had agreed to move back and live with him. One of his recent, but very few, lows (hypoglycemic episodes) happened and Barry checked his blood glucose and had him drink about 6 ounces of juice. Ben said he was acting (according to Barry) as if he had had too much to drink, yet he knew there was no alcohol in the house.

Brenda said this was good, and asked how many had medical alert jewelry that they wore. Only six of us did and she suggested that we talk about my blogs here and here. Allen asked us to include this blog of mine. Brenda said this is why she reads my blogs. I know she does not like every blog, but to hear her on this really is a support for me. I told her so and A.J. said that he needed to do more reading as he had not read these. He also asked why we were so concerned with a piece of jewelry.

Brenda took up the challenge and explained what could happen during a hypoglycemic episode. She said if we were driving a car during a low and happened to be stopped by a law officer, we could be arrested for drunk driving even though we had not been drinking. She explained that not getting treatment for the low soon, we could pass out, and then the officer could just think we needed to sleep it off when we could be near a coma. She explained that with a medic alert bracelet, necklace, or other piece of jewelry, it might be seen and then with diabetes on it, they might act to save our lives. Allen said she was right and hypoglycemia was not to be ignored. We needed to test before we started the car and develop this habit when we are on insulin.

A.J. said that now it made sense and John asked if this applied to those on oral medications. Tim said that for the two he was on, yes. Sulfonylureas could cause a low and while metformin by itself would not, the two together could increase the chances of a low. Tim stated that the new medication just approved could not be evaluated yet, but that all other oral medications could cause a low. Insulin was known for this, but oral medications could cause lows. If the person did not take the medication because they did not feel like eating, then a low could be avoided. Also taking too large a dose for the food consumed could also cause a low. He stated that this was something everyone should be aware of and alert for this happening. Tim concluded by saying that if we were unsure, to talk to their doctor.

Barry had bookmarked several sources of medical jewelry and said he would send this out to everyone. Jessie asked if this was what we did at every meeting. Sue said we are getting better now that everyone that has an interest suggests topics for the meetings. She then stated that the help is the emails that are generated, normally by Tim and others now to summarize parts of the meetings and provide URLs that might be of interest for all. She said that these are also sent to those not attending which she said has helped her. Elaine then asked why when she was not on medications she would be interested in the meetings.

Sue laughed and said because she has type 2 diabetes. She explained that because of the support she received from the group, she was able to get off all medications and hopes to stay off for quite a while. She said because of the new members, she would repeat what a pain she had been for a few of us before she was diagnosed. Brenda said if they had not heard of the diabetes police, this is what Sue was talking about and she was one of the worst at getting under our skin. Sue said that she expected to be paid back, but she was accepted into the group and has not had this thrown in her face once.

Sue's husband, Bob, then said that he was the one that outed her to the group and had tried to have them give her some payback, but that none of us had. He said we had just accepted both of us and given Sue encouragement to get off medication and continued to support her. Then he said that when her brother Ben needed help they were there for him and have been very supportive of both he and Barry. He then said this on one reason we want to stay with the group and learn about diabetes as they felt there was more to learn and he felt this as well.

Then he dropped a bomb on us. He stated that he had been to the doctor the week before and that he now had prediabetes. He was on metformin and now both he and his wife were doing more exercise together. He said because metformin is so inexpensive now that he feels that the group has been a help for him and asked if he could be considered a member. The vote was unanimous in favor.

Apparently, this was the day informing the group of diabetes news. Jessie's husband, Glen, was next and he said his diagnosis was type 2 diabetes as well. He admitted that he was not over his anger yet, but that because of his wife and the group, he felt he had a home with support without looking for it. Glen said to me that he was reading some of my blogs now and this was helping him. He was happy that I had encouraged his wife to join, how much my cousin had helped them get off on the right path for nutrition, and he said that my encouraging his wife to use spices was what brought back pleasure in the meals. He was asked to be a member.

Next, we turned to Elaine's husband. He said he hoped not, but admitted that he was using his wife's meter for fasting blood glucose readings and that he had a few fasting readings above 100 mg/dl, but that after meal readings were generally under 100. We told him to keep checking and get to the doctor if there was a trend upward. He said he would and asked to keep coming to the meetings.

Jason said his wife was not having any problems and was normally under 90 mg/dl and I said my wife was normally under 85 mg/dl but was having some problems of readings in the upper 50's and feeling very shaky. With this report, our membership has grown to 16 with about 17 attending.

Tim said we are now limited to four houses and that so far he had not found another meeting place. Both Elaine and Jessie said that their houses were available. Bob and Sue said their house was also available. Jason said he would have to talk to his wife now and Max said his house would not have room. We were then ready to continue, but this will need a second blog.

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