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elderly diabetic
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elderly diabetic

My dad is 82, and has had diabetes for a few years. My mom is his primary caregiver. In spite of numerous reassurances, she panics whenever his level goes much over 200, and really freaked out tonight when it was 450. He's on a sliding scale for insulin, and these numbers invariably come down. Am I right in telling her not to worry if he feels OK and the level does come down within a day?
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Hello mamacox,

I am a volunteer here, so please keep in mind that I am NOT a medical professional.

I am a mother of a child (10-1/2 years old) who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3.  

So, your dad has type 2, but was put on insulin to manage his diabetes?  Keep in mind that I am familiar with type 1.

As a mother of a child living with diabetes, I can say that I do not like to see 400 blood sugars either, however, there are times when there is not a logical explanation for highs and lows and we have to realize that this is what diabetes looks like.  

If your dad and mom notice a pattern of highs such as highs that occur during the same time of day for a few days in a row, they should bring it to the attention of your dad's doc so he/she can make the necessary changes to your father's insulin dosage (schedule).

I suggest that your dad test for ketones when his blood sugar is over 300.  (I have my son test for ketones if he is over 250)  Also, it is a good idea that he test for ketones when he is ill.  My son has had highs where he has felt okay, as well, but I still have him test for ketones so I can see if they are present.  If your dad does not have ketone strips, he should be able to get a prescription for them although they are over the counter.  (We use a prescription because the cost is lower)  We use Bayer Ketostix.

So, I would say you are right in telling your mom not to worry so much, especially when your dad says he feels okay, HOWEVER, ketones would be something to check for when he is high.  Ketoacidosis is serious and very dangerous.

Here is some information for you about ketoacidosis.  

Someone developing diabetic ketoacidosis may have these symptoms:

- Extreme Thirst, drinking lots of fluids *
- Frequent urination *
- General weakness *
- Vomiting  
- Abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate  
- Low blood pressure  
- Increased rate of breathing
- Sometimes a distinctive fruity odor on the breath (When ketones are present this can be a symptom, but it does not definitely mean the person is in ketoacidosis)

I have put a * next to symptoms of high blood sugar that would not necessarily indicate ketoacidosis.  

So, it is important that when your dad has a reading over 300 to test for ketones and find out from his doc what plan he should follow if ketones are present.

I hope I have helped.  

Take care,

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