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Smell of alcohol ?????

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Old 06-02-2005, 02:26 PM   #1
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Kathim HB User
Smell of alcohol ?????

Can anyone answer me that if you are on an insulin pump and/or have high levels of ketones if the person would emit a smell of alcohol/liquor on the breath????????

My husband is a diabetic but never has this. Someone came to our home to do work and smelled of alcohol/liquor and his boss said it is because he has an insulin pump.

I just want to be informed if in fact that CAN happen.

Thanks in advance


Last edited by Kathim; 06-02-2005 at 02:26 PM.

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Old 06-02-2005, 03:22 PM   #2
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Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

Hmmm...a person who is running very high blood sugars and/or has keytones can have very sweet or fruity smelling breath. This is not a healthy condition so going around that way constantly is rather irresponsible and dangerous. Most people think insulin itself smells sort of like band-aids.

I'm not a pumper but smelling like that just because a person is on a pump sounds odd to me. I haven't heard that mentioned by any of the pumpers I do know, most are on other boards and are answering questions from new and prospective pumpers all the time.

Last edited by HeatherP; 06-02-2005 at 03:24 PM.

Old 06-02-2005, 10:24 PM   #3
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Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

I agree with sounds odd to me, too. The smell of diabetic ketoacidosis is usually referred to as "fruity" and, although I've never smelled it myself (being one of those lucky people who don't produce ketones), I would not associate a "fruity" smell as being the same thing as an alcohol smell. Also, if someone were at the stage of producing ketones, they probably wouldn't be feeling very well!

I don't know if the smell of insulin reminds me of bandaids, Heather, but it sure as heck wouldn't be confused with the smell of alcohol! It's very pungent and medicinal smelling.

It's quite possible that this is the story he gives his boss! Or maybe something's going on that we don't know about. I'd say that as long as he does good work, and you're not leaving him alone in your house, don't worry about it.


Old 06-02-2005, 11:15 PM   #4
Mark Munday
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Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

He could be on a low-carb diet. The whole point of a low-carb diet is to put you into ketosis. The smell of ketones could simply mean that dietary fats are being used instead of carbs as the main source of energy.

Unlike ketoacidosis, ketosis is a healthy and sustainable condition. In answer to the question, it is not the pump that creates the keytones, it is the diet.


Old 06-03-2005, 10:55 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Kathim HB User
Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

Thanks everyone for your answers/posts.

It was definately the smell of alcohol such as someone who had been drinking previous to my home repair visit on a Mitsubishi Big Screen television.

I really didnt think an insulin pump would emit the alcohol smell nor the ketones as I "AM" familiar with the Ketones.

Thanks again


Old 06-04-2005, 07:43 AM   #6
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Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

It's not the smell of alcohol, but rather the smell of ACETONE that diabetics expel when they are burning fat instead of sugar. I'm a chemist so I know the difference well...they are quite distinct. For someone unable to distuinguish odors well, the acetone might well seem like "alcohol breath." To describe it to a woman, the smell of acetone is the smell of nail polish remover.

Usually if you smell acetone it's a sign of poor insulin control and climbing blood sugar...caused often by a large carby meal that uses up all the insulin in the blood...or a faulty pump that doesn't.

Old 06-05-2005, 12:02 PM   #7
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Re: Smell of alcohol ?????

My husband has Type 2 diabetes and when he sweats, it has a sweet smell. It's not a pleasant, smell either. I haven't noticed that on his breath, just his body in general after he goes for a walk or does heavy yardwork or something. Does anyone else notice that?

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