View Full Version : Multiple Potential Problems - Diabetes or Heart?

06-02-2010, 02:48 PM
My 82 year old father is diabetic and has been for many years. He has had heart bypass and carotid artery surgery to clear plaque. His diabetes is sometimes problematic in that his blood sugar goes very low with activity, then he is not functional for a day or so.

He is experiencing the feeling of extreme low blood sugar, but his sugar level is 126! His blood pressure is 120/62, and his heart rate is 69.

This is something new and we don't know what to do or what is wrong. How can we help him? His heart rate is usually higher, could it be that the issue is there?

He is no longer active, he sits and watches TV most of the time, but does mow his lawn a couple of times a week, goes to breakfast with his cronies, does special projects in his workshop, and goes to event dinners with Mom. We go out for dinner every Friday night and we have family dinners on Sunday. His diet is not good ( he loves gravy, potatoes, rice etc.), but he is not willing to adjust it, except as it affects his diabetes. He used to be a very active man, hiking, hunting, waterskiing, etc. Now he has arthritis in his ankles so is unable to stay on his feet for long and is somewhat unstable.

This new thing concerns me and he is not willing to discuss it with his doctor. Anybody have any ideas?

06-13-2010, 09:58 AM

With all of his health problems, I assume he's overweight. Is that correct?
If that's the case, he likely would improve his health by losing weight. That would help everything, including the arthritis in his ankles.

It seems like, from what you have said, he eats out a lot. Eating out a lot can't be a good thing. Can it? Could he be talked into eating out less? More healthy home cooked meals might be what he needs. It seems like your Mom could be a big influence here. Is she aware of how important it is for him to eat healthy low calorie meals? Natural whole foods including lots of fresh vegetables (not just white potatoes) would be important to promote health.

06-14-2010, 03:00 PM
Dad is overweight, but not any more than he has ever been (he is 6'2" and 220#). He is particular about what he eats and doesn't eat what Mom puts in fornt of him unless he wants to. He frequently leaves the veggies and salad, eating only the protein, bread, and starch. When available (not frequently as he does this) he will only eat macaroni and cheese until it is gone (no other items at a meal.) He will do this with lasagna, spaaghetti, and enchiladas also - items not frequently prepared again, because he does this.

Unfortunately, he is totally aware of what he needs but thinks he is old enough to "not have to put up with that nonsense!" Ha! He has eaten very wisely for long periods of time, but now eats as he chooses. They eat out about twice a week then one more time a month, maybe twice. He eats mostly at home and the meals could be very healthy, if he would eat them. Sadly, he eats like a little child.

The dizziness does not seem to be immediatly affected by his diet, more by his activity. I am concerned that it is a symptom of something we do not know about or a worsening of his heart condition, although the doctor says everything is fine.

06-15-2010, 11:35 AM
Would he eat a dish where everything is mixed together? For example, soups, salads or casseroles where the vegetables, protein and starches are all mixed in together. That might be worth a try. If it's something he likes he might go for it.

Dizzyness can have many causes. Dehydration is one. Tumor is another. Then there's positional dizzyness. And there may be other reasons. In my opinion, there must be a cause so I don't understand how the doctor can say "everything is fine".

06-15-2010, 06:44 PM
I'm 58 with multiple health problems and have actually talked to my family about my future. I was the one who had to deal with my in-laws in there old age and with all their health problems.

The bottom line is that your father is a competent man and has the right to refuse your help and his doctors. He knows that he possibly shortening his life but I think he's more interested in a good quality of life for the years he has left. He wants to eat what he wants to eat.

All you can do is be ready to help if and when he decides he wants your help. If he doesn't(and that sounds like he's made that clear to everyone) then you can do nothing but love him. Stop pushing and hinting....you'll just alienate him. He knows what he's supposed to do.

The reality is that old age is not fun. I've battled bad arthritis for years and it's tough. It really changes the quality of your life. Give him time to adjust and decide what he wants to do about if if anything.

My father-in-law was as obstinate as a mule and did nothing he was told to do health wise and really endangered his life and his wife's. That was when we had to step in and do things like take the car keys. But when it came to his personal preferences for food.....you can't win that battle. It's like trying to make a 2 year old eat what you want them to. Doesn't work.

Just love him as best you can for whatever time he has left with you and pray it's a long time. It's his life.


06-18-2010, 03:38 PM
I know that is true. I just know that there must be something we can do for him (or his doctor can, if Dad would tell him about it.) The surgery on his jugular (sp?) vein helped him for awhile but apparently the doctor has told him that his veins are too small to allow what Dad calls "the RotoRooter". I don't know if this is the problem of not. Positional dizziness is definitely an issue, but the thing I worry about more is the low sugar like symptoms without the low sugar.

He sometimes will eat well, but generally can be cantankerous. Thanks all!