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From Mountain Home, Arkansas, USA:

My girlfriend and I have plans to get married sometime in the distant future. I love her very much. We have been dating for about 9 months. When we first started dating I didn't know that much about diabetes. I soon found out that she was diabetic though. It didn't really matter to me at first because, of course, I didn't know that much about it. But the more I looked into it the more worried I became about her health. For the longest time she would eat a lot of things she really shouldn't eat, such as fries, burgers, ice cream, chocolate, and so on. Her blood sugar levels have been over 600 mg/dl [33.3 mmol/L] many of times. It seemed like every time she checked it it would be around 300 - 400 mg/dl [16.7 - 22.2 mmol/L].

In the past two months, I have got on to her about certain things and I try to keep up with it regularly. She has gotten a lot better about what she eats and keeping her blood sugar normal. But I still don't think she sees the seriousness of the whole situation. I don't want to marry someone that I will have to bury in 20 years because they didn't think it was too important, or it didn't matter. Is their anything I could tell her to kind of "scare" her into taking better care of herself? Because as far as I'm concerned I'm terrified.


Your girlfriend is so very lucky to have you in her life! There are not many boyfriends that would care about diabetes the way that you do. It is understandable that her choices around taking care of her diabetes are frightening to you. However, trying to "scare" her into taking better care of herself will not work.

Instead, she needs understanding and support - from you, from her family, and from her diabetes team. There is something that is getting in the way of her making the choices you would like to see her make. What do you think that may be? Perhaps you can ask her what makes it hard for her to make these choices, and what things she'd like you to do that helps her.

Also, ask her if you can go with her to her next diabetes clinic appointment. You can let her diabetes team know that you are interested in learning what you can to help her.


Additional comments from Dr. David Schwartz:

I also do not believe that anyone can optimally "scare" someone into getting better control of their diabetes. But I would add this thought: if she decides at anytime to begin a family, poor diabetes control can not only lead to fertility problems, but poor control while pregnant can also lead to extremely serious birth defects including an enlarged, thick heart, abnormal formation of the bowel, and poor formation of the spine and legs. In addition, infants born to diabetic mothers can develop life threatening LOW glucose in the first hours of life. Best of luck in your lives together.


Original posting 31 Dec 2003
Posted to Behavior


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