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Diabetes

Life Expectancy For Diabetics w/o Treatment?

06/03/2011

Question:

My mother-in-law was diagnosed with Diabetes a few years ago and she doesn`t have insurance or want to change her lifestyle. She eats whatever she wants and she smokes. Her hands and feet are swollen all the time and she has lost most feeling in them, she has a hard time sleeping and walking, she is tired and in pain all the time and rarely takes her meds or checks her blood sugar levels. How long do you think she could go on like this without the proper care? Thank you!

Answer:

First, I am very sorry your mother-in-law is going through this; it must also be difficult for you to see this happening to her. Checking blood sugar, following a balanced meal plan and taking prescribed medication are essential to control diabetes. Stopping smoking is also very important to help control blood pressure and keep the blood vessels healthy and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Living with a chronic disease like diabetes can be difficult and requires daily monitoring, diet, exercise, medication, etc; it is not unusual for the person with diabetes to become discouraged. When this happens they may feel 'what's the use?', stop taking their medications, eating well and checking their blood sugar daily.

Does your mother-in-law have a doctor? It is important that she see a doctor as soon as possible, given the symptoms you describe. The doctor could also determine if she would benefit from seeing a social worker or other behavioral health professional about dealing with diabetes.

Does she have Medicare? Many doctors accept payment from Medicare. In addition, one of the benefits of Medicare is for diabetes education, including classes and individual sessions with a nurse and dietitian to help the person put together a plan to help manage their diabetes. They may also help the person locate where to obtain diabetes medications at a lower cost. They may also know of county assistance programs or clinical studies that could defray costs. Good luck!

For more information:

Go to the Diabetes health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Margaret G Doyle, RD, LD, CDE Margaret G Doyle, RD, LD, CDE
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University