December 6, 2002
Question from Columbus, Oho, USA:
My 81 year old mother, who has type 2 diabetes treated with pills and lives with us, has a suprapubic catheter which constantly causes urinary tract infections requiring antibiotics, and she also has high cholesterol. She is frail and sleeps 18 to 20 hours a day so extensive exercise is out of the question. If we aren't watching her, she eats everything in sight, and recently her blood sugar started spiking to the high 100s [mg/dl; 5.6 mmol/L] and sometimes above. Do you have any suggestions we to what we can do?
First, you need to speak with her physician about the extent of the elevated blood sugars. This can be gathered by evaluation of home blood sugar monitoring results or by doing a test called a hemoglobin A1c. If the extent of the elevation is not severe (less than 150 mg/dl [8.3 mmol/L]), I would think that holding food from her would not be necessary. On the other hand, if the sugars are getting high enough to warrant treatment, this can be initiated, and you don’t have to withhold nutrition from her. The management of this situation should be decided between you and your mother’s physician.