Got questions about life with diabetes? Even if you don't have it yourself? We're here for you!

Yes, it's another edition of our diabetes-Dear-Abby-style advice column called Ask D'Mine, hosted by veteran type 1, diabetes author and community educator Wil Dubois. Today we're talking with a concerned spouse, and a concerned woman who seems to be en route to our D-world.

{Need help navigating life with diabetes? Email YOUR questions to AskDMine@diabetesmine.com}

Innovation 2015

Hallie from Oregon, type 3, writes: My husband has had type 1 for over 10 years now. It seems like more and more he has days where all he does is sleep or lie around all day. I know that's fine once in a while, but this happens a lot! I'm sorry, but it drives me crazy. I just want to spend time with him and all he wants to do is sleep. He only works a part time job, and barely does anything around the house, so I know he isn't getting overworked. We also don't have any kids so he doesn't have to worry about taking care of anyone. I take care of him. I feel like our life is being taken over by him sleeping or laying around. I'm growing more and more worried about him. We still have our lives ahead of us! I mean, he is only 26 and I'm 28. Any help is welcome!

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: Doc-talk vocabulary lesson of the day: comorbidities [ko·mȯr-ˈbi-dÉ™-tÄ“s] (Noun). Bonus Scrabble points if played in conjunction with the word diabetes. In the real world, however, no bonus points will be awarded because diabetes and comorbidities are like Fred and Ginger, spaghetti and meatballs, or Gilligan and the Skipper. In other words, things that just go together.

But I guarantee, even if you've never heard of comorbidities before, you know what they are. Comorbidities are other diseases that are commonly found in association with a primary disease.

You all know by now that diabetes doesn't like to play alone. It brings all its friends over to party in your body. So who does diabetes have on its speed dial? High blood pressure, naturally. High cholesterol, of course. But along with those, and many more, are two under-the-radar diseases. Both are terribly common in D-folk, but are also commonly overlooked, and either one could be causing your husband's problem.

The first is right under your nose. Well, technically, right under your chin. Yeppers. It's your thyroid. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, people with diabetes have thyroid trouble at much higher rates than folks who don't have diabetes.

And the primary symptoms of an under-active thyroid are lying around the house, sleeping, and ignoring your wife to the point she is driven crazy. Well, I'm no doctor, but if I were going to make a diagnosis...

You can get his thyroid checked by having his doc order a lab test called a TSH. Lazy thyroid is easily fixed with a daily generic pill.

The other thing that makes a man lie around the house all day, sleep, and ignore his wife to the point she is driven crazy is depression. Which is also more common amongst D-folk than amongst the general population. And I've said it before but I'll say it again: depression needs to be treated just like any other medical condition.

Next week's vocabulary lesson: exasperate [ex-ˈzas-pə-ˌr�t] (Verb)...

 

Adrienne from Hawaii, diagnosed with pre-diabetes, writes: I was told by my doctor recently that I have high cholesterol and pre-diabetes. I freaked out at first and didn't eat and made myself mean. Portion control has been a main part of my focus and has left me incredibly hungry. A little bit of history about myself would probably help, so here goes: I'm 35 years old, I am 5'8" and 134 pounds, in my opinion not too over weight. My life is not my own right now, I spend all day chasing three kids under the age of 5, and at times I don't eat breakfast and or lunch. Up until my wakeup call, we were eating a lot of the cheaper cuts of meat due to a tight budget. Even though I'm only pre-diabetic, would testing myself be a benefit to see what my levels are regularly? I don't want to be diabetic. I've never had to diet in my entire life and restricting foods, especially carbs, really sucks, but if it means I don't get diabetes I'm going to try.

Wil@Ask D'Mine answers: I think you're approaching this all wrong. I'm not sure you need to control your portion size. I plugged your height and weight into a Body Mass Index calculator and got your BMI as 20.4; right smack dap in the middle of normal weight. Well, actually to the lower end of smack dap in the middle. Medically speaking, Adrienne, your frickin' svelte.

So, being frickin' svelte, I don't see any benefit in you reducing your portions. Slashing portions is a good way to lose weight, if you need to, but I don't think you need to. Besides, it's making you mean and hungry, and mean and hungry people aren't well suited to take care of three little children.

But as to what, when, and how you're eating; now that we can talk about. The cheap cuts of meat could be effecting your cholesterol. Cheap cuts tend, as you know, to be higher in fat. About one-third of your cholesterol comes from your diet and the rest is made by your liver. As you eat a lot of fatty foods, you have the opportunity to put a pretty good dent in your elevated cholesterol by leaning that out a little.

Skipping breakfast and lunch is really hard on your body. Surely the kiddos aren't missing the first two meals each day, are they? (Just say "no" and no one calls social services.) If you're somehow finding time to feed them, you've got time to feed yourself in the process—even if it's stuffing your face at the countertop as you make food for the little monsters. If you're one of those folks whose stomach doesn't like to get to work in the morning, try one of those meal replacement shakes for breakfast. For lots of metabolic reasons, make sure you have that "most important meal of the day."

Now, are you really sure that you don't want diabetes? There's never been a better time. If you get diabetes before the end of the month you'll get a free T-shirt and a glucometer. I mean, we all have such fun and all.

No?

Funny thing, I have the hardest time selling memberships to this club.

OK, so you want to know how to stop pre-diabetes dead in its tracks?  The best minds in the biz say to add 30 minutes of exercise a day and to reduce your body weight by 5-10%. That was the outcome of the Diabetes Prevention Program Study. Now, the average BMI of the participants in this study was 34 and their average age was 51. Ummmmm.... You're not quite fitting into this party very well. You're too young. Too thin. And too active. Hell, if you lose 10% of your body weight, you'll be on the cusp of underweight.

But the lab tests showed something is up with your body. So I do think you should test your blood sugar. I think you should test it a lot, and use the meter as a tool to better understand when your blood sugar is elevated and when it isn't. You seem to have a unique pre-diabetes. I think you need to get to know it better. Is your blood sugar just a tad high all the time? Or does it rise in your sleep? Does it shoot up after eating? Or just after eating certain kinds of foods? I think you need to know more about the enemy before you can plan an attack.

So test, test, test. Then get back together with your doc.

And you know what, Adrienne? No promises, but I kinda doubt you will get diabetes. Here's why: When your doc told you that you had pre-diabetes you freaked out. I loved the fact you called your experience a "wake up call." You made changes, bad ones from lack of good info, as it turns out, but still you were motivated to do whatever it took.

Now, I'm guessing that no one wants to get diabetes (maybe we need to offer something better than a T-shirt); but most people who are told they have pre-diabetes make no changes at all. They rationalize away the early warning with "it's only pre-diabetes," or "I just have a touch of the sugar." A hurricane is coming. Most people are just sitting on the frickin' beach. You boarded up your house, threw the kids in the mini-van, and headed inland for safety.

But it's not too late to change your mind. If you try really hard to put on 30 pounds and just monitor the kids from the couch, maybe, just maybe, you can get full-blown diabetes.

Your T-shirt is waiting.

 

This is not a medical advice column. We are PWDs freely and openly sharing the wisdom of our collected experiences — our been-there-done-that knowledge from the trenches. But we are not MDs, RNs, NPs, PAs, CDEs, or partridges in pear trees. Bottom line: we are only a small part of your total prescription. You still need the professional advice, treatment, and care of a licensed medical professional.

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

Disclaimer

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.