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From Henderson, Nevada, USA:

My 54 year old sister has had type 2 diabetes for the past 17 years. She has never been able to control her blood sugar level, averaging between 300 - 500 mg/dl [16.7-27.8 mmol/L], and recently, while being admitted to the hospital for heart surgery, her level was 700 mg/dl [38.9 mmol/L]. I had no idea the readings could get this high. What are the long term effects?


You are right to be concerned about the diabetes journey your sister has been on. High blood sugars can be very silent but, over time, cause damage to the blood vessels in the body. Imagine, if you will, a tube of blood from someone with normal blood sugar. The thickness of that blood is like skim milk. Very easily moved within the blood vessel. When someone has an average blood sugar over 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L], that blood becomes thickened with the sugar to look more like corn syrup or molasses. This thicker blood does not make most people feel sick at the time, but over years, this candy coating can cause clogs in blood vessels to our eyes, the nerves of our body, and all other parts.

I hope that your sister will insist on getting the help she needs and deserves to get the right match of medicines and education so that she no longer needs to put herself at risk for the troubles down the road. If she does not currently have a diabetes educator on her team, she can call 1-800-TEAM UP 4 and get a listing in her area.


Original posting 25 May 2001
Posted to Daily Care


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