“It time to wrap up this month-long reality check into how out of control blood sugar impacts our perceptions of the world. Next month we will be looking at the diabetic police.”
When blood sugar is high anyone living with diabetes can have a hard time recalling, retaining or remembering information until blood sugar levels, return to normal. But, what happens to John is something unexpected.
A few years back John was dating a beautiful woman. John would think about her all day. When John was with her, John was filled with excitement and delight.
But something happened at the end of their 6th date.
John always considered himself a manly man who could sustain an erection for hours on end, so erectile dysfunction was the furthest thing from his mind. Well, you probably know what happened next but let me move along and not belabor the point.
When he didn’t have an erection, it was an embarrassing and scary moment for John. Luckily, she was cool about it. The next day they went out to dinner and shared a great chocolate lava cake. John adjusted his insulin and thought things were going great, but in the back of his mind, he was still thinking about it and apprehensive.
They got back to his place and set the mood; scented candles, soft jazz in the background and dim lighting. Everything was perfect except John. He was excited and eager, but he did not rise to the occasion.
“What is wrong with me?” John thought to himself, and then a little voice in the back of his head answered him. John went to check his Blood Glucose (BG) levels.
WOW!!! 390 – John couldn’t believe it! John calculated everything perfectly, but somewhere John missed it. Here’s what John missed:
- John missed the fact that they finished dinner an hour ago. It is difficult for insulin to burn off complex sugars like Chocolate Lava Cake, so his blood sugar went higher than normal for after dinner.
- Next, John probably underestimated how many carbohydrates were in the meal.
- Last, John was so stressed out about the previous night that his body was releasing excess Cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone released by stress. Anxiety activates cortisol (glucose) secretion, which releases it into the body. Hormones like Cortisol increase blood sugar levels in the body and for those living with diabetes can cause hyperglycemia.
So John went around for several days worried that he was going to have to take Viagra to rise to the occasion. In reality, John just needed to test his blood sugar and wait.
The next time they met, they watched a movie while waiting and enjoying their time together. A few hours later after making sure that John’s blood sugars had stabilized at 120, they tried again and no Erectile Dysfunction for this virile man this time. They did it right.
In reality, the symptoms of diabetes can mimic other psychological and physical illnesses. Be careful, and double check that what you are experiencing or what your child is experiencing isn’t diabetes-related.
Now that’s not to say that your child doesn’t have a learning disability or some other condition but make sure to rule out diabetes. Work with your doctors to get guidance in the process.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.