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March 19, 2001

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Question from Dahlonega, Georgia, USA:

I am 53 year old male who has had type 1 diabetes for 42 years. I have heard a lot about colon testing for individuals above 50, and my wife had one last year. What are the recommendations concerning this sort of testing for people with type 1 diabetes? Quite frankly, the prospect of clearing the bowels and fasting the way my wife did frightens me. It is clear that if I were to do this I would need to figure out a basal insulin dose and find some way to treat possible hypoglycemia without compromising the testing procedure.

Answer:

The recommendations for surveillance colonoscopy. are no different, whether you have diabetes or not. I agree with you that the bowel prep is not the most enjoyable thing around. However, I would also echo that many people with diabetes have done this without a lot of difficulty. Don’t let it get in the way of doing the correct thing. You may have to monitor a little more during the prep time, and you may also have to cut down on your insulin. Check with your primary care physician for more information.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: It’s okay to have clear liquids prior to this procedure, although sometimes the “standard” instructions state that nothing should be consumed beforehand. So you would be able to take your carbs in the form of jello, regular pop, popsicles, ice sherbets, etc., and still get the calories you need to prevent hypoglycemia. (If the radiology staff insist on you not taking anything at all, have your diabetes doctor intercede with the radiologist’s staff.)

WWQ]