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From Kansas, USA:

My husband, age 40, was diagnosed with Type 1 four years ago. How long can he go untreated before something drastic physically happens, for example, coma, blindness or kidney failure? His average fasting blood sugar is 400 and has been for 6 months at the very least. He is a construction worker and I feel the hard physical labor is what has kept him alive. All of the family is supportive of him but he does not wish to accept the facts. Doctors have told him the facts but he just goes merrily along. I'd like to know how long he can go on this way.


Diabetes diagnosed at age 40 is certainly a challenge! Old habits and patterns of living are can be difficult to change. Your husband is obviously a strong man, working construction as he does, and he may feel basically well.

It sounds as if he has lots of supportive people around him, but he is missing the most important element in effectively handling diabetes: his own commitment to management.

With average fasting blood sugars of around 400 for a prolonged time, the likelihood of developing complications is high. You are correct, his physical activity is a saving grace, but it is not enough by itself. It sounds like he is operating on the premise of "If I can do my job, then there is not a problem".

Since diabetes does its real damage on the inside, denial can continue until there is outside proof that it exists. I hope that your husband does not wait until he has a foot injury at a construction site, a blurring of vision causing an accident, or some other manifestation of diabetes out of control, to decide to take control of his circumstances. He can continue to behave the way he is until the diabetes causes him to focus on it.

When diabetes is ignored, it always wins. I know how frustrated you are. Is there a local ADA meeting where you can get some input from other spouses of people with diabetes? Is there a multidisciplinary team in your area to assist? What about a meeting with you, your husband, and his physician?


Original posting 28 Jun 1998
Posted to Complications


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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