Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

11/18/02

Q:
I suspect my husband is diabetic. He is 49, has high cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure. He does get out and walk or ride nearly daily - but he never follows appropriate diet guidelines past breakfast. He eats a good breakfast, then MUST have juice around 10 or he breaks out into a sweat all over, feels nauseous and shaky. On the weekends he drinks and eats to excess - especially at night. He develops an odor about him which smells like old alcohol. If you walk into a room he is in you can smell the odor. In addition, it is overwhelming on his towels from showering the next morning. I have suggested he ask his doctor if he should have glucose tolerance testing, but he just shrugs it off. His mother and sister became diabetics after middle age weight gain - which he has followed. Am I wrong to be thinking in this direction?

A:
No, you are very correct in your thinking. The blood sugar imbalances are obvious, and will most likely become more pronounced. His "fruity" breath and body odor are symptoms of low blood sugar that are associated with ketones. This is a signal that sugar is not being absorbed from the bloodstream; a sign of insulin/cellular malfunctioning. He is following a path towards diabetes, particularly with the history you describe. Denial is not an uncommon human response; it may take an episode like "passing out" before he responds to getting screened. Even a fasting glucose check would be a start.



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