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Old 01-05-2013, 10:00 AM   #1
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Who here is a diabetic or knows someone?

So The reason for starting this thread is because of my dad. He is a diabetic diagnosed at age 15. A few years ago he started using a insulin pump and every once in a while he goes into one his low blood sugar comas. Like the other day he was in my Tacoma driving!! He had no clue what he was doing but luckily somehow called my mom and she called my cousin who is a police officer who was on duty at the time to go find him. How scary is that and its not the first time its happened! They found him parked going the wrong way on a one way street. So my question is how can I prevent this from happening? What are some ways to get him to eat and not let low blood sugar creep up on him. I fear he will get in an accident and kill himself or someone else.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:04 AM   #2
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I have heard of people carrying a packet of honey in thier pocket. If they get low on sugar, they eat it and gives them a perk. That's about the extent of my knowledge. I just picked up a meter to check myself. I think I have some kind of issue, just not sure what.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:07 AM   #3
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He has all that stuff from the glucagon needle to sugar pills and paste and ALWAYS has a pack or 2 of crackers on his person, but it just seems to sneak up on him then he is not it the right state of mind to use it.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #4
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Sounds like he may need to test himself more regularly and keep a journal. That way he can see what effects certain habits can have on him. More monitoring is probably the only way to go. Good luck.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:42 AM   #5
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I'm 27 and I've had diabetes since I was 8. Thankfully I can feel when I go low so I've never been in a low sugar coma. I think more testing and getting tighter control may help him feel if he is low or high. Might be too personal but what is his A1C?

Having him test before he drives every time might be a good habit to get into
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:11 PM   #6
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My situation is a strange one, but my sugar drops, just always always carry some crackers or something to eat. I feel dizzy/sleepy/headache when it starts to go low I almost always carry something to eat in my pocket. Get him a pack of smarties (candy) there very helpful in this situation, and pill container with them.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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My mother in law is and is always going into low or high. But that is because she screws up and gives the wrong amount.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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Awesome thanks guys Im going to make him be more strict with himself. Try to get him into a habit of testing himself more often or when in doubt eat something!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonBilly View Post
My mother in law is and is always going into low or high. But that is because she screws up and gives the wrong amount.
My dad is in great shape and dosent want his levels to get to high. So he dosent eat enough and goes out and works so thats what gets him. He will give himself insulin so he dosent go high and then doesnt have enought food in his system to counter it.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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Ive been a type one diabetic since 6th grade. If he is on the pump, maybe he needs to adjust his basal rates. Can he feel when he is getting low?
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:21 PM   #11
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Im think he can but he just gets tied up with working and then its too late and he is way low. I Will ask him about his basal rated im not honestly sure.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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I know several who have it but none of them has had an incident like this yet though so not sure what they would do. Good luck though hopefully he can find a way to prevent this from happening in the future!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TacoIII View Post
My dad is in great shape and dosent want his levels to get to high. So he dosent eat enough and goes out and works so thats what gets him. He will give himself insulin so he dosent go high and then doesnt have enought food in his system to counter it.
Ya she has a similar attitude. She runs around after my nephews and doesnt eat. It is a suck disease
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #14
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If he is on a pump he needs to eat regularly. I know when i exercise for a long period such as skiing or hiking i need to eat more. Also, when i start getting low i always start sweating heavily. At that point i know i need to eat immediately.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #15
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My wife is a type II and has had very good luck keeping herself in check. She is on several meds for it but back when she was on straight insulin, it was a nightmare. Lots of highs and lows and never seemed to be in balance. One night she crashed low enough that she sat up and bed and wouldn't respond to any questions I asked her, just stared blankly through me. I was scared but I ran and got some of her glucose tabs and forced her to eat a few until she could respond, then had her take in apple juice. After that, we got her on Metformin and she takes a needle at night with Victoza. She's been without a crash of high since.

It's a tough thing to deal with and it's hard for any person to accept help at some point in their life, you know, the whole pride thing? But your Dad needs to better monitor himself and identify when the low is coming. It's not as gradual for some and can take you over quickly. Your best bet is to get him to see a diabetic dietitian who can help him change his lifestyle and keep this in check.

I hope you can make him understand. Good luck!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:48 PM   #16
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I'm a paramedic, my mother was diagnosed with IDDM (type 1 insulin dependent) at around 43 years old. It's pretty frequent in her family. I was about 18 at the time of her diagnosis. As I'm sure you know, it's rare for someone to be diagnosed with type 1 in their 40's, but my mom has been extremely healthy her entire life and was able to somehow fight the diagnosis until that age...

The issue is, my mom is very stubborn. She doesn't like medication, she doesn't like the idea of being sick. She's the type that would still go to work, despite having a fever of 102. This became a big problem prior to and after being diagnosed. She would feel tired/confused/drowsy, ect. But would "fight" through it.

The specific problem with diabetes is that when you "fight" the symptoms of low blood sugar, and adapt and get better at functioning with low blood sugar, your body begins to adapt as we'll, and stops giving out the symptoms and "warning signs" that it used to.

For example, if a new diabetic starts showing low bg (blood glucose) related symptoms at 55 mg/dl, they can eat some sugar and it comes up... But in my moms case, she would fight it, and eventually she stopped seeing symtoms at all at 55, they didnt show until 45, and then they didn't show until 35... So on and so forth. If your body gets used to functioning with low blood sugar, it stops showing symptoms at "higher" low blood sugars, and she basically can go from feeling "fine" to being in very bad shape, very fast.

For example, as a paramedic, I've had patients who were completely unresponsive (no reaction to sternal rub/trap pinch), and an FSBG OF 39.

I've seen my mom walking around the house, seemingly ok, but maybe a little sluggish with and FSBG of 17. Most glucometers give a reading of "lo" under 15 mg.


(Non diabetics blood sugar ranges from 60-120)

Luckily my mom is extremely strict about checking her sugar every few hours, including waking up in the middle of the night, but it takes a lot of discipline.

Another thing to take a look at is his insulin pump. I don't like them, personally. My mother doesn't either, and she doesn't use one. I've heard some pretty bad stories about them. Either giving too much or too little. They just seem to not be as precise as a person doing it themselves. Just food for thought.

The most important thing you can do is have your father talk to his doctor. It is EXTREMELY dangerous for him to be driving and not have complete control over his blood glucose levels. My father's close friend went into a diabetic coma while driving a work van on the freeway. He was very lucky that the accident didn't injure him or anyone else, but he did lose his license for a year, as the court used this not as a punishment, per say, but as a year for him to really get his diabetes under control.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #17
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I've been diabetic for 20 years and on the Medtronic insulin pump for about 2 years. I love the freedom it gives. It looks like you have gotten a lot of great advise so no need to repeat everything again. One thing I use is life savers candy. I prefer those over the glucose tabs. Have your pops carry some of those. I dipped into the 30's and wasn't responsive when my alarm went off so my wife called 911. Paramedics hooked up some IV in my bedroom. Within a few minutes I was back to normal. I don't remember a thing only a hot female paramedic working on me towards the end.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stea View Post
If he is on a pump he needs to eat regularly. I know when i exercise for a long period such as skiing or hiking i need to eat more. Also, when i start getting low i always start sweating heavily. At that point i know i need to eat immediately.
For me it's the opposite. Before my pump, on shots, I had to stick to such a strict meal schedule. On the pump I can go all day until dinner without eating if I need to. Not that skipping breakfast and lunch is a good idea for anyone heh. Just a matter of tuning the basal rate.

I know it can be hard to balance working out and insulin, but I always err on the side of less insulin because a low sugar is more of an immediate danger than a high sugar. I've seen that many diabetic athletes have higher A1Cs than less active people, just because lows can stop you in your tracks.
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Old 01-05-2013, 09:52 PM   #19
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Does he check ketones, just curious if he keeps an eye on it. I lost alot of weight at one point because of it (not good thing).
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcpsychobilly View Post
Does he check ketones, just curious if he keeps an eye on it. I lost alot of weight at one point because of it (not good thing).
a diabetic who often goes low because they have excellent control of high
blood sugar levels will not show ketones. this is not relevant to someone who
goes low a ton. ketones are gonna show up in someone who has crap control
and has a high a1c, fwiw

advice
-----
1) obtain tons of test strips and use them a lot. you must get in the habit
of testing blood sugar 8+ times a day if you want to get a handle on this

2) KEEP 2 cylinders of those 10-tab dextrose in the glovebox of all vehicles.
if a low comes on eat 8 of those tabs. not 1, not 2, but 8
this is about guaranteed to bring sugar up enough without overeating. test 1 hour later and test 2 hours later for results

3) it is a bitch if you cannot sense a low because you are used to it, see item 1...TEST TEST TEST....this is the only problem I see, not enough readings on current blood sugar levels. you start testing 8 or more times a day you will figure out the pattern


I am type 1 with 5.5 a1c and I go low sometimes but have tabs everywhere I may be, and jump on them ahead of time...I can never stop testing though...
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