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December 22, 2003

Behavior, Type 2

Question from Marion, Illinois, USA:

My husband has been diabetic for 8 years. He does not control his sugars with medication as he is prescribed. He has suffered from pancreatitis on several occasions. His sugars range from 90s to 400s [5 to 22.2 mmol/L] on a regular basis. Aside from the physical issues, I am noticing major mental changes. For the past 4 years, there have been subtle changes. This past year, his temper has become uncontrolled. We have two teenage daughters who are afraid to be at home alone with him because his mood swings are so extreme. The latest concern seems to be his memory. He can be mean and hurtful with comments that he'll make (screaming and completely out of control - nothing physical), and 20 minutes later, he'll deny that the conversation ever took place. Is this something that could be associated with the uncontrolled diabetes?

Answer:

Uncontrolled diabetes can have multiple complications. The wide fluctuations that you describe can cause irritability and mood swings. The loss of memory may be a complication of diabetes but could be symptoms of something else. I would discuss this with your physician and perhaps seek the advice and opinion of a neurologist–a specialist in the nervous system and brain. I would not let this go any further without an evaluation.

ABS