August 15, 2003
Question from Austin, Texas, USA:
My husband has been having increasingly extreme temper outbursts (He hits me and our daughter) which he says is caused by his diabetes (usually because he hasn't eaten in over 12 hours). Can his diabetes cause such extreme temper outbursts and unreasonable reactions?
Marked alterations in blood sugar can cause emotional irritability. Some people feel that this is more pronounced with high and some with low sugars. It can occur. If it does, it is one more reason for your husband to work closely with his physician to prevent these swings. Going over twelve hours without eating does not sound like a good strategy.
[Editor’s comment: It sounds like some detective work needs to be done as quickly as possible before someone gets severely injured. It would be wise to monitor blood sugars during these outbursts to see if in fact they are related to extreme swings. It would also be extremely important to make your husband’s physician aware of what’s going on. If blood sugar swings are ruled out, your husband (and perhaps the entire family) may require counselling to deal with the problem. Your physician would be the one to advise where to get help. Please get it soon.