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June 9, 2001

Behavior, Daily Care

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Question from Zanesville, Ohio, USA:

My 48 year old wife has diabetes and a stressful job. I have noticed that her arms and legs have lost most of their muscle tone, and she seems to go off at the slightest thing. Her legs have deteriorated quit a bit, but she can not seem to lose her stomach. She has quit taking medication and will not monitor her condition. Are these problems related to her diabetes? What can I do to help her?

Answer:

I am very concerned about your wife. It sounds like she is depressed and ignoring her diabetes. I strongly advise you to get a psychosocial evaluation with a skilled therapist. Her moods may be tied to her poor diabetes control — or be symptomatic of another problem.

As far as her limbs go, I worked with an endocrinologist who used to say that frequently folks with diabetes resemble “an apple with toothpicks stuck into it.” That sounds like your wife’s physique, doesn’t it? Anyway, get her to a qualified professional as soon as you can. Her health and well being are at stake.

CMB
Additional comments from Lois Schmidt Finney, diabetes dietitian:

I think it might be best to get her to an ER or clinic ASAP. If she becomes dehydrated, along with the high blood glucoses, she is a candidate for severe problems. As part of the consultation with a physican, preferably one who works with a diabetes team, she should see the social worker or psychologist, but right now I am afraid this could get to be a life or death situation.

LSF