What Exactly is Out of Control Diabetes to You?

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2017-06-26 13:15:39 -0500
Started 2017-06-03 11:46:46 -0500

I was thinking about this the other day and quite often we only associate out of control diabetes with people who are not actively taking care of them selves. But I realized that is not always the case. It is also usually ties with highs. But I was also thinking that I feel more out of control when I have unexplained lows. Those scare me more than highs because I loose control of so many things and they happen so fast. Those make me feel very vulnerable.

So to you…what means out of control?
Is it an inability to gain control of a diet or exercise routine?
Is it when you are doing what seems right, but still can't meet goals for glucose levels?
Is it lows in the middle of the night?
Is it not having the meds you need?

25 replies

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-06-26 13:15:39 -0500 Report

I didn't have that problem until I got sick in December. I am back on track. I was without my diabetic medication for a week and couldn't take it for a few days after the surgery. My A1c went up. I got it back in control. Otherwise, I don;t lose control.

KJudson9 2017-06-11 13:07:24 -0500 Report

To me, out of control would be high BG but also out of control as far as just not managing it. Not because you can't afford your meds, etc though. Not being managed because you are choosing to ignore it.

It could be any of the reason you asked about but I really think it comes down to you and your motivation. I think for some they get out of control because of things beyond their control. Not being able to eat consistent meals, not being able to get your meds, not being able to exercise or eat a good diet for any number of reasons.

I'm learning that having a high BG in the morning because I had something a little extra the night before doesn't equal out of control. It just means I had something a little extra and I need to keep an eye on that or account for it if I know about it. If I don't, if something just happens, it doesn't mean I'm a bad person or I am not paying attention. It just means Sh— happens.

The highs scare me too. Right now it is because I don't feel any different. I know what low feels like but being higher like I am right now, going up more doesn't feel any different to me. It scares me because I know what it can do to my body and I have to wonder if I hadn't caught it now, what could've happened. I have the complications that are typical (high BP, high cholesterol, etc) and am working on them too. But right now, it is about controlling my BG to get it down where it needs to be. But I have to accept that it is going to take time and my body is going to have to adjust too.

I've not had an unexplained low but with the new meds I am on, they said it could happen. A friend of mine suggested keeping peanut butter cups with me. The chocolate has carbs to up my BG quick, while the peanut butter has protein to help keep it up a bit longer. Now this is in a pinch, not all the time kinda thing. I've had one low so far for me (Hit 197, which for me right now was low). It sucked and I didn't feel like myself at all. They are scary in their own way. It's like watching yourself from the outside. You know you are being cranky but you just can't stop yourself. You know you have than name/number/answer on the tip of your tongue but you just can't reach it. You have 8 million things to do but you just can't get moving.

I am lucky to have my hubby and educating my kids to know that when Mom is grumpy, maybe suggest some juice or give her something to up her BG. But have her test first. It will help get to know when you are low and how to tell. Learning those warning signs may help you head it off at the pass before it gets bad and give you some sense of control again.

cmr55 2017-06-07 17:48:34 -0500 Report

For me out of control is when I know I have done everything right. Eating healthy exercising. I get frustrated when I know I have done everything right and BS goes up. I have found you can eat two days in a row the same meals and BS will be different. Some of these happen due to illness or stress. Just due your best each day.

Consueloj 2017-06-06 22:44:53 -0500 Report

Ive been able to keep such tight control thus far that things like illnes just throw me for a loop!
Just got over a bad cold which turned into a sinus infection I couldn't shake. BG ran higher despite trying to offset that with more exercise and less carbs. It was never really high but certainly out of my own acceptable range.

w8chd 2017-06-06 22:07:48 -0500 Report

Good one Gabby. Thought provoking. Hadn't really thought about it before. I don't task over any particular part of it. It is what it is. I do have a semi- set daily reading "limit" I like to see it under, if it's not for no reason I can think of I try to figure out why.
The night lows I get several times per week but I don't change anything I do before bed. I get up, check it, eat a few glucose tablets and go back to bed. No problem. I the morning it's well within my target range.
It is bothersome when I run out of meds ( fortunately not very often) before I have the funding to get them for the next month. But I know it's going to run a bit higher for the next week or so till I can get them. No point in worrying about it, it will come back down when I get the meds.
Personally I don't think anyone really has it under control, completely.

Stuart1966 2017-06-04 10:30:57 -0500 Report

<<Is it an inability to gain control of a diet or exercise routine?

These choices are pieces, parts of the puzzle..Depthful education-training
matters in order to decipher most nutrition issues. It is not magic, it is nutrition science.

<< it when you are doing what seems right, but still can't meet goals for glucose levels?

Nope not control either. You have to question the realism of a particular "goal" The wording infers right action, which must be examined very carefully. Believing my approach is brilliant, right does not make that the truth. Consider
very hard exercise wont automatically guarantee a drop in BG. Hard enough, high enough intensity and you get the adrenaline response not the drop sought. Timing plays a role re: when and what we ate last too.

<< is it lows in the middle of the night?

Absolutely NOT!!!!
This is simply too much insulin in the current equation period. Eat more calories at dinner, more calories, likely some more fat to the bedtime snack, or just lower the insulin being taken at dinner/bed. Many approaches the same tools to achieve it.

<< it not having the meds you need?

Not sure what you are asking here? Unable to get the desired insulin because of insurance wants a different one? Explain this one a little more please…

GabbyPA 2017-06-05 10:23:59 -0500 Report

Yes, either insurance cap, denial or unavailability to gain access to meds.

Stuart1966 2017-06-08 13:57:40 -0500 Report

Thanks for the clarifications… now I get it. (embarrassed look)

The inability to afford or have access to meds, is also not (IMO) the issue of personal control. Control is what I am able and capable of doing to alter the outcome of my diabetes. I cannot be held to blame for those issues, so nope, not a control problem as I see it. A nightmare to be certain but not control per se.

msann 2017-06-04 09:24:29 -0500 Report

hey guys i really just think stress mine our great but i am caregiver for my mom and aunt and when i go see about them they all ways got new problem and that stresses me way out i excercise 6 days a week and i have to to survive

BB42 2017-06-04 07:48:46 -0500 Report

Great question. For me it is definitely when I feel I am doing everything right and my numbers are too high. I went through a period when I ate properly and exercised regularly. I lost a lot of weight and my BG and A1C were excellent, and I was off meds. Then,continuing on my routine, my numbers went up and did I sink low. I felt the disease had the best of me. I spoke with my physician and with 2 Diabetes Educators and we informed that it is likely that as one ages ones numbers may increase. I also realized that I had become more sedentary and was not as careful with my eating as I should be. At least I felt better that I had some control and my numbers show it

Stuart1966 2017-06-03 20:31:17 -0500 Report

Openly denying/ignoring one's own diabetes condition period. Beyond that
"control" fundamentally a mistaken idea… IME

GabbyPA 2017-06-05 10:27:03 -0500 Report

This is true. But when you go to a doctor and you are doing what you know to do or the best you can with what you have and they tell you that you are out of control, how does that feel? To me, it's a frustrating part of diabetes because while I am never perfect and I cannot "control" it per-se...I want to have success and hate it when a medical professional just says someone is out of control, but has not explored what they are doing or where they might improve.

Stuart1966 2017-06-07 19:27:29 -0500 Report

Competent they would never dare utter those words

A degree never makes one an expert, mere having knowledge not skill

suecsdy 2017-06-03 14:26:40 -0500 Report

I think for me it would be an inability to achieve a consistent bg level, not necessarily in a low range, whether it's from lack of care or just because in spite of the best efforts, the beast will not cooperate. I think of the 4 questions you posted, the only one I would take off the list is #3, mid-night lows as that is truly not something we have any control over, The body needs what it needs. The other 3 are within our control, to some extent. Even not having enough meds. You know when you're running low and the time to address the issue is not when you're down to your last week of medication. There are programs in place to help, though I understand that just asking doesn't guarantee aid. I'm not meaning to sound harsh because we all know how frustrating and unpredictable diabetes is; just when you think you have a handle on it, the beast throws you a curve ball. If you don't make an effort to work with this disease, then not only is the disease out of control, you are out of control.

WASHED OUT 2017-06-03 19:06:21 -0500 Report

Lows in the middle of the night is a out of control thing that some of us have control over. If people taking insulin are taking to much insulin or to much of a medication before bedtime that would be a control problem. Finding the right dose of the right medication as well as diet is essential to proper control. You have to remember not everyone is the same or have the same type of diabetes.

suecsdy 2017-06-04 09:55:34 -0500 Report

You have a point. Being off all insulin now, for me, night time lows is not something within my control and I am fortunate to not have to deal with this issue often. If I'm experiencing higher than normal mornings, it usually means a problem elsewhere in my body (infection of some sort).

Type1Lou 2017-06-03 11:57:05 -0500 Report

One of the most frustrating aspects of my diabetes is it's unpredictability. There are times when you have either highs or lows that you just can't explain. What I do is deal with the situation at hand and go on from there, doing my damnedest to stay in as good control as I possibly can. Not sure this really addresses your question but it's the thing I find the hardest to deal with about diabetes.

Stuart1966 2017-06-08 14:00:53 -0500 Report

Not a fan of "its" mocking and sinister laughter myself. Give me a giant mallet and I will confront it >: ~ >

WASHED OUT 2017-06-03 19:14:19 -0500 Report

I agree Lou, it is a constant thing for some of us if we want to keep- " Control". We are taking our best educated guess , evaluating our meal and physical activity in order to find a matching dose of medication. We have to think of both glucose rises from food and physical activity curves to try to match the curve of effectiveness that our insulin is capable of doing. Going off on either side of matching those glucose curves will result in a high or a low.

Type1Lou 2017-06-04 08:30:07 -0500 Report

And even then, S___ happens. Take this morning. At 1 am, my BG was 164 mg/dl. Since I anticipate Dawn Phenomenon rises, I took a correction bolus with my pump and slept until 6:30 am. I woke up to a fasting BG of 282!!!!! I verified my pump was still delivering insulin (it was), took my breakfast/correction bolus via pump but 2 hours later I was at 301 mg/dl. So, I retook the 3 unit correction/bolus via syringe and am changing out my infusion set and reservoir early because it appears that after 2 days, this set has some absorption issues. (Medicare only allows me 1 set and reservoir every 3 days, which makes me try to get the full term out of each set…adding to the frustration.) It will come down, but, for me, highs have a slower correction curve than coming back from lows. A day in the life…luckily, they're not all like this!

WASHED OUT 2017-06-04 18:38:02 -0500 Report

Have you had many malfunctions of those packs ? If so maybe your insurance company should allow for them by occasionally giving extra supplies. Anything can be a lemon once in awhile especially if they are using cheaper faulty suppliers. I do believe I would let them know, they all don't work and that doesn't change the fact that you need it to work. You have a hard enough time controlling your glucose when things do work.

Type1Lou 2017-06-05 10:42:12 -0500 Report

Medicare only allows us 30 reservoirs and infusion sets every 90 days when we change our sets every 3rd day…no wiggle room at all for bad sets/bad sites. It's the reason I strongly recommend anyone transitioning to Medicare to stock up on these items well before their eligibility so they have a safety net. Prior to Medicare, I received 40 sets and reservoirs every 90 days, so most insurers do recognize the need for more than 30…but not Medicare. Some people will try to leave sets in longer than the recommended 3-day limit just to avoid running out. By doing that though, they increase the risk of scar tissue development at the infusion site and poor insulin absorption. Our government doesn't make it easy for me to manage my diabetes well. When I have (rarely) encountered a faulty infusion set or reservoir, Medtronic will replace it and often requests I return the faulty set to them by providing pre-paid shiping. The set I recently had a problem with had functioned for 2 full days, so the problem wasn't with the set but with how my body was dealing with the site…not Medtronic's fault. When I removed the infusion set, the cannula wasn't bent nor was the area bruised, so I'm still not sure why I had the problem…part of the unpredictability of this disease.

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