February 19, 2001
Question from Toronto, Ontario, Canada:
My 78 year mother has diabetes and takes insulin. Her condition has gradually deteriorated to the point where, in the last few days, she has “caught herself” about to fall from standing position and sat down abruptly. She was not dizzy at the time, but suggests it was more of a balance problem. She has also lost control of her bladder, and is fairly weak (sleeps a lot, not much energy.) She had a triple bypass six years ago and is on many medications for blood pressure control, osteoporosis control, and heart pills. We are awaiting tests and test results. Can you enlighten us as to how her diabetes may or may not be related to her latest deterioration?
When neuropathy complicates the course of diabetes, the nerves are unable to tell the brain the location of the position of the limbs. Your mother has only to rely on her visual cues for where to place her feet. If she also has vision problems, this makes it very difficult to get around. This is not an infrequent complication of diabetes.