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Emphysema/ diabetes/ steroids



i am 54 years old with emphysema, diabetes, history of blood clots (on coumadin), spinal neuropathy. my doctor says it would not be possable for me to take steroids because of my diabetes. my blood sugars would go sky high. curently i am on i.v. steroids weekly for 12 weeks for my spine and yes my blood sugars have been in the 500-600 range. is there any hope for me? i am also on oxygen 2l continous, have severe back pain, and want to see my grandchildren ages 3 & 6 grow up and walk down the isle.


Having multiple medical problems often results in having to make decisions about the trade-offs between how the benefits and risks of treatment for one condition will affect other problems. Sometimes it is necessary to alter the treatment for one when another gets out of control.  You and those helping you with your medical care need to consider what the benefits and risks would be of modifying the treatment of your diabetes to permit a treatment like steroids for another medical condition.  How that risk-benefit analysis is going to work out for any given person is going to differ depending on all the factors in the situation.  However, having an important motivating factor like the one you mention can make a difference in how likely you are to succeed.  It might help to get some input from providers who can help you look at some additional options to help you reach your goals, whether you can get that from those currently involved in your care or whether you may need some additional ideas or options from consultants.  Motivation is a huge factor in this situation. 

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Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati