From America On-Line:
I'd appreciate any information you can give me in relations to my symptoms.
My father's mother died of diabetes in the mid 50's. I have been very careful about my sugar intake taking into consideration that diabetes is hereditary. Along the way I have experienced some hypoglycemic reactions. I have gotten that under control though I remain to continually have cold hands and feet, I appear to look tired when I'm not and I'm not as quick thinking. When I do consume a bit of refined sugar, I notice that my hands warm up and my face is brighter, my mood lifts and I can think better though if I consume too much sugar, for days I will have crying spells and feel very depressed. Is my glucose levels causing these dramatic changes and should I monitor it with a glucose test kit? Are some people's systems this sensitive that they can slide into a state of hypoglycemia to a diabetic state?
You are to be commended for your awareness of your diabetes risk. We have learned a great deal about diabetes, foods, and blood sugar control since your grandmother had diabetes. My first suggestion is to see your physician and have your fasting blood sugar tested by the laboratory. If your blood sugar from that test is greater than 126mg/dl, you have diabetes. The earlier you find this out and the faster you get on treatment, the better your health will be.
Yes, some people experience years of hypoglycemia before going on to develop diabetes. That hypoglycemia is caused by an over production of insulin in response to carbohydrates and foods. After years of overwork, the pancreas production of insulin can slow down. This is when people see the blood sugar start to rise.
Research has shown us that all carbohydrates, such as sugar, fruit and pasta, raise the blood sugar, not just refined sugars. Therefore, one of the tricks in successfully managing blood sugar is learning about carbohydrates and your blood sugar response and then balancing the amounts you eat with exercise.
Should you monitor your blood sugar at home? The answer is yes. Learn all you can about your blood sugar response. Check before breakfast: People without diabetes will have a blood sugar less than 110mg/dl. People with diabetes work toward achieving a fasting blood sugar less than 120mg/dl. Check after eating: I suggest for a few days you write down what and how much you eat and then test your blood sugar 1-2 hours after you eat. People without diabetes have a blood sugar less than 140mg/dl. The recommended goals for blood sugar after eating for people with diabetes is 160-180 mg/dl.This will tell you if you are able to make enough insulin to cover that particular amount of carbohydrate. Check your blood sugar before and after exercise. See for yourself what your blood sugar response is.
Regarding the mood swings you have been experiencing. Many of my patients have described to me the very same thing. Again, research has shown that this can be related to changes or elevations in blood sugar levels which throw off our chemical balance. I suggest you discuss this with your physician as well. Ask to take a short depression screen (which is a paper and pencil test) and if positive for depression, get treatment. There is no reason to feel badly just because you know the cause. Most of my patients stay on treatment for 9-12 months and feel so much better!
I hope this answers your questions and helps you move forward on your journey. If you do have diabetes, team up with a diabetes educator to learn all you can about your blood sugar response to life. If you do not know a diabetes educator, you can call the American Association of Diabetes Educators at 1-800-TEAMUP4.
You are the expert on you! Don't every feel alone. There are lots of people out there to help you.
Original posting 24 Dec 1998
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:00
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