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February 20, 2001

Daily Care

Question from Arkansas, USA:

At a recent doctor's visit, my boyfriend had a hemoglobin A1c of 10.6%, and his blood sugar was over 400 mg/dl [22 mmol/L]. He has been told that his body is not accepting the insulin as it should. He takes a large amount, but only receives a small amount to lower his blood sugar. His doctors have told him that he may not live past the age of 25. Is this true? I have tried to find out from him but he doesn't want to talk about it. Is there anything that I can do to help him?

Answer:

Poorly controlled diabetes is a health risk. Since there is so much I do not know about your boyfriend’s condition, I cannot comment on life expectancy or prognosis of his diabetes. I can suggest other things you can do, if you wish. First, go with your boyfriend to the doctor. Hear what the doctor says. Many times patients are unwilling to make lifestyle changes which are necessary for better care. See if diabetes education services are available through the doctor’s office or local hospital. Contact the American Diabetes Association or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I know the ADA has many patient-oriented educational items which are available to the public at no or minimal cost. These activities will allow you to learn more and help influence your boyfriend’s behavior which can impact his diabetes. I would raise these same questions to his physician, who is in a better situation to answer your specific questions.

JTL