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From Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom:

I'm a 19 year old who was only diagnosed a year ago, and my blood sugars are not good. Ever since I was diagnosed, I haven't been able to keep them below 20 mmol/L [360 mg/dl] for a long period of time, even with help from my nurse. Recently, I have been experiencing many effects of the diabetes.

My penis is in an awful state, I have had thrush for months now, and sometimes I even wake to find my penis bleeding. I get terribly paralysing cramps, sometimes in 80% of my body at the same time which has come on me twice while I was driving and I have crashed, so I have had to give up driving now. My eyes feel cloudy and blurry most of the time, especially towards the end of the night.

All this has come on be within the past 12 months, and I don't like it to say the very least. My life has dramatically changed. I get very depressed sometimes, and I hate my life now. What are the chances of a cure in my lifetime? If a cure is found, will it work on someone who has had it for a prolonged period of time? Basically I want to know if there is hope or should I stop kidding myself and try to live with it?


Clearly you are depressed and your diabetes control is very poor, especially considering the recent advances in management. The monilial urethrits can certainly be remedied, but it will recur if you don't achieve better control.

With determination and good supervision, it is certainly possible nowadays to lead an essentially normal life despite diabetes, nonetheless it is very understandable to hope for a cure. In a sense this is already possible with islet cell transplantation, but its availability is limited because of the paucity of donors and the need for lifetime immunosuppression. As scientists learn to develop surrogate cells with much abbreviated immunosuppression this will not always be the case and even sooner there are likely to be artificial pancreas, where a long lasting glucose sensor can be safely linked to an insulin pump. There is indeed hope, so you must get help.


Additional comments from Dr. Andrea Scaramuzza:

Surely you are in a bad situation. Also if you have only had diabetes for a year with inadequate metabolic control all this time, you have begun have some consequences of prolonged hyperglycemia. However, I think, honestly, that in this situation you can have an hope again. You need to talk with your doctor about a new treatment plan using basal/bolus approach or an insulin pump. I think that if you improve your control in a short time, you could feel less depressed, see your life in a new manner, and most importantly, stop the progression of complications linked to poor diabetes control. You have surely another chance, but you have to take it soon as possible.


Original posting 14 Oct 2003
Posted to Behavior and Research: Cure


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