Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Conneaut, Ohio, USA:

My 38 year old sister is was diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago. Within the last year, she has turned into a different person. She puts herself into dangerous situations, has recently stolen a large sum of money from my mom, and she's facing nine felony counts of theft. She was a person who had no record and never did anything wrong. She seems to have become a totally different person and has no concept of reality anymore.

Her blood sugar levels are generally high (in the 400s mg/dl [22.2 mmol/L]) because she doesn't keep taking her pills and insulin since she has money problems. Can diabetes, left basically left untreated, have any affect on a person's brain causing behavioral changes like this? Is this behavior caused from something else entirely?


I think that the most probable cause for your sister's story is that both the poor control of her diabetes and her recent behaviour are due to some form of acute mental illness. It is possible that all this could be due to diabetes, but if this were the case, one would have expected a much longer history of inadequate control and either a story of repeated severe hypoglycemic episodes or of other involvement of small blood vessels especially of the retina or the kidneys.


Original posting 20 Oct 2003
Posted to Behavior


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: (none)
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.