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Question:

From Wisconsin, USA:

I am not a child but a female, age 59. I have been sort of borderline diabetic for several years. I am on no medication for this. I had blood work done several days ago, and had a call from the diabetic educator today saying that my glycosylated hemoglobin is up and we need to do something about it.

I have had an itching on my body for well over a year and a half. Have been to everyone: allergists, family doctor, dermatologists. No one seems to have any real answers for me. Has anyone out there had itching caused from their diabetes? Sure would love to hear something on that subject. Seems to get worse whenever I eat, regardless of what I eat. Not really hives, but feels like little electrodes popping out all over on my skin and itch until I bleed. Usually starts on tummy area. Can not put a finger on any one thing that is causing this. One fellow on the Internet told me to stay away from anything at all that turns to sugar -- and it seems like it helps when I do. Also suggested no dairy, milk, cheese, eggs, etc. It is very frustrating and any suggestions or thoughts from anyone out there sure would be appreciated. There is a lot of diabetes in our family. My brother passed away 5 years ago with a leg amputated.

Answer:

Sounds like your "borderline" diabetes has gone over the border? In truth, there is no such thing as borderline diabetes. It could be compared to borderline pregnancy.

What you have probably had over the last few years is elevated blood sugars, high enough to possibly cause some dryness of your skin or irritation of nerve endings, but not high enough to alert you to the danger. The test you recently had (Hemoglobin A1c) represents your average blood sugar over the last 60 to 90 days. This is a good indication that your blood sugar has been high for some time.

You are fortunate to have a diabetes educator on your team. Please take advantage of this and spend all the time you can learning about self management skills. These should include testing your blood sugar at home and understanding what those numbers mean, carbohydrate awareness to evaluate the foods you eat and the amounts that are appropriate, and how to include activity or exercise to manage your blood sugar day to day. Medications are an additional tool for lowering blood sugar and should be taken as soon as necessary and adjusted as time goes on. With this new knowledge of diabetes management, there won't be foods you have to avoid but amounts of foods that you know will not drive your blood sugar higher than is recommended. Testing your blood sugar after you eat will guide you as to what amounts you can handle.

Living with diabetes and remaining healthy is absolutely possible today. Take advantage of your diabetes team and learn all you can to manage it within your life. The overall goal is to maintain safe levels of blood sugar, blood fats and blood pressure within your blood vessels.

KS

DTQ-19990730190023
Original posting 15 Aug 1999
Posted to Diagnosis and Symptoms

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:06
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