Trying To Avoid Diabetes Complications

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2011-12-26 22:28:59 -0600
Started 2011-12-12 16:01:46 -0600


The Diabetes Health magazine published an article stating that diabetics should maintain a good BG average and A1c, and avoid a roller coaster type of control. The roller coaster type of control involves having many highs and lows, and that would involve data widely scattered above and below the average. Blood sugars that rise and fall on the path of a roller coaster are a shock to the body. Experiencing this shock over a long period of time can lead to diabetes related complications, even if the A1c is good. I will demonstrate with two examples.

Patient 'A' has test results 40, 55, 65, 100, 135, 145, and 160. The average is 100, but there are numbers that indicate unhealthy highs and lows.
Patient 'B' has test results 72, 80, 94, 100, 106, 120 and 128. The average is again 100, but the data is more closely packed, and none of the numbers are undesirable. Patient B is experiencing much better control, and is much less likely to have diabetes complications.

The purpose of this discussion is to discuss the fact that a very good blood sugar average can still involve diabetes complications if there is a significant number of highs and lows over a long period of time. Don't rely solely on a blood sugar average and A1c. Try your best to avoid so many highs and lows. A good average accompanied by a stable control is the best way to avoid complications. Proper dieting and well chosen exercise routines can help very much in avoiding the highs and lows.

I had A1c's less than 6.0 for several years, but had the beginning stages of neuropathy and retinopathy. My control had been tight, but it was necessary to make it even tighter. I stopped having so many highs and lows and after a few months had passed, the retinopathy disappeared. The neuropathy is still present , but I rarely experience any pain. If I have high blood sugar for several hours there is sometimes mild pain during the night. I have been a diabetic for 66 years, and have not had any serious complications. I want to keep it that way!!

20 replies

annesmith 2011-12-25 01:12:41 -0600 Report

I can't even imagine consistent numbers like the 2nd example you I can fully see that is my goal. I honestly got so " used" to my daily extreme highs and lows, that I pretty much just accepted it, yet I knew in the back of my mind that this is not normal ( for me to daily have readings of 100, 500, 280, 83, 600, 90, 53, 300, 58)—-good LORD. I'm comparing it to the 2nd example you gave, even the 1st example, and I see why the doctor about dropped his clipboard with me. ANNE

annesmith 2011-12-25 01:05:35 -0600 Report

Thank you so so very much for the education on this. I suspected that for years, but you brought it into full light for me. I found an excellent doctor about 2 months ago, but he was not currently open for patients. I told him that my range everyday is between 83 and 600. He about dropped his clipboard he had in his hand. He wrote down that I need insulin after meals ( since that is when I usually go in the 500s and 600s) at minimum. My last internist in 2005 told me that even though my A1c was only 5.9, that at 6.0 I'd be seeing nueropathy for sure…it happened. I now have neuropathy, because my range is so brittle and wide. I see…I'm waiting for this last doctor to be open for new patients, and in the meantime am still looking for an internist who is open. I'm getting very close now to finding a regular doctor…thank God. What you said all makes sense now..I was wondering why my A1c is so good ( 5.9), but I have terrible terrible joint pains, fevers that spike so easily, and was almost admitted for ketoacidosis 5 times in the last 5 years…every time I was in the emergency room over the last 5 years, they took my blood sugar and it read " Keytones" and HI. I see my whole picture a LOT better now. The nurses always look at my A1C and say " Oh, you aren't even diabetic." Nope—-nothing could be farthest from the truth…thank you again, and I look forward to talking to you…sincerely, ANNE

Richard157 2011-12-25 10:07:20 -0600 Report

Anne, there are so many things you can do to improve. I cannot offer any advice though since i don't know if you are type 1 or 2. Do you use insulin?

annesmith 2011-12-25 23:24:05 -0600 Report

3 of 4 doctors and the hospital said I was type 1 or type 1 honeymoon phase. I have had long acting insulin that worked extremely well. Metformin my pancreas rejected. ANNE

Richard157 2011-12-26 09:24:28 -0600 Report

The ketones you are having are due to high blood sugar. Even though you have good A1c's you are probably having high blood sugar after meals. Those frequent highs can add up and cause long term complications like you are experiencing. To combat those highs you need a fast acting insulin to use before meals, and to use to correct highs when needed. With a basal/bolus pogram (slow acting + fast acting) your control would gradually stabilize, the neuropathy should improve a lot, and the ketones would stop. The joint aching might be helped too, unless that is due to arthritis. Do you take a medication for cholesterol? That kind of medicine can cause a lot of muscle pain for some people.

annesmith 2011-12-26 22:21:11 -0600 Report

I take a high blood pressure medication, but no cholesterol medication. My cholesterol is very low considering what I eat, but my triglycerides are enormous—almost 500. My cholesterol is only 182. Since adding more running to my workout, my circulation has improved quite a bit. I love to walk and run..I do that every 2 days. My fasting blood sugar has been creeping up on me, but I am not as good about taking that one , as , I have extreme extreme fatigue every morning when I wake up. The fatigue was so extreme , that I thought I had luekemia. They ran a test for that, and it checked out completely negative. They said it was the diabetes. I had no idea diabetes could be associated with that degree of fatigue. What you said makes sense. Thanks for the further education/imformation. My joint aching is really bad, and it flares up at it's peak on the 3rd week of every month. I have had that for years, and it strongly seems to be diabetes and arthritis both. Why my body rejected the diabetic pill, I will never fully know…it's amazing how different it is for each of us. My main priority right now is to keep getting closer to finding a regular doctor/internist. My biggest worry is that the new doctor will generalize everything out, or draw several question marks. My dad was on cholesterol and triglyceride medications, and he was very brittle diabetic like myself. The side effects from his cholesterol medication alone basically almost crippled him entirely. He died at age 73—a little over 2 years ago. My mom is diabetic too, but she is not brittle, and her numbers are always high—-she takes insulin. My dad, like myself, did not get his checked early enough, and that I think is the reason he became so brittle. His numbers were erratic like mine. I'm very happy I at least found a doctor about 7 weeks ago, even though he currently is not open for patients—-I liked him a lot. So, I will stay focused on the positive. I'm a cigarette smoker, and have cut back to under a pack a day for a whole year now…I feel good about that. I found out my cigarette smoking ( the nicotine) really affects my blood sugars, too…I'll keep you posted, and thanks again!!!!!———ANNE

jigsaw 2011-12-20 20:38:18 -0600 Report

Terrific info! I was a bit unsure on this subject, but you definitely hit the nail on the head!!! Thankyou for this very valuable info.

Richard157 2011-12-13 16:52:36 -0600 Report

Please don't misunderstand me. I get some lows and highs too, but not as many as I used to get. Insulin dependent diabetics will always have some highs and lows, no matter how tight their control may be. Just do the best you can, and reduce your highs and lows as much as possible. Don't stress over it. Be happy and don't fret. Too much stress can cause high blood sugar! Frustrating, ain't it? Lol

roshy 2011-12-13 17:19:59 -0600 Report

frustrating int the word rich!!! its a multiple daily injection pain in the arse!!!!
Happy to report that i once suffered with terrible neuropathy for a good year after i had a DKA!!!! but now with better control the symptoms have disapeared!!! I thought ti was amazing i had signs showing so fast esp with nerve damage at such an early age!!!! but it was a big wake up call that the control was all down to me!!! and your right, all we can do is try our best!!!!

Thanks for posting!!!

jayabee52 2011-12-13 16:57:10 -0600 Report

BTW good to see you back posting on DC again! Was concerned something might have happened to you.

Richard157 2011-12-13 17:12:31 -0600 Report

Thanks, just the annoying lows. That is all that has happened to me, for now. Tune in next year. Lol!

annesmith 2011-12-26 22:28:59 -0600 Report

Yeah, I find lows really annoying , too. Whenever I have had blood loss of any kind, bleeding ulcers, my monthly, guaranteed I'd go low for about a week. Blood loss and diabetes—-not good, so I'm a lot more careful now about avoiding high acidic foods and too much black coffee—-ha. Like you said, alls we can do is the best we can do—-I just keep staying focused on that…God is my #1 priority, especially at the end of every day…I read the Bible and thank Him continuously for my youth, and for always being there for me. I keep reminding myself that God did not give me diabetes, it just happened. He also did not force any bad experiences I had in the past on me as far as nurses that didn't quite understand, records that were lost, etc…I just keep reminding myself " It's not God's fault, he gave us the gift of life, and free will . " ANNE

SCLWKR 2011-12-13 14:16:59 -0600 Report

Richard, thank you for such important information. I have had diabetes for 9 years and I have never heard this information. I will now reassess my numbers management to include these concepts. Sherrie

Young1s 2011-12-13 11:00:36 -0600 Report

Thanks Richard. I guess I am guilty of this kind of thinking. I get daily highs of 140+ or lows below 90 but shrug them off as an acceptable anomalies because my other readings are within normal range. I will take better care to avoid these fluctuations. This was an eye opener. Be blessed.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-12-13 09:00:51 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing this. I still have the high's and low's going on, but I know it takes time to gain control. I'm trying!
Glad to hear you are doing well with this! More power to you! You are a warrior for sure! Keep up the battle!!!
Blessings, Mickey

Harlen 2011-12-12 17:01:40 -0600 Report

I am too and I am in the same boat that you are Rich
I an going to keep on swining at it
Best wishes

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