What If My Husband Has Type 2 Diabetes?

Patient Expert

I've always wondered what it would feel like if anyone else in my family were diagnosed with diabetes. I know lots of families who have multiple type 1 members, which brings a certain set of problems.   However, what if your spouse was diagnosed with type 2?

What If Your Spouse Has Prediabetes or Type 2?

For the last year, my husband has been having more health issues.   For years he has been the picture of health, but there have been subtle changes. At his physical, last year, we noticed that his fasting blood sugar was 94, (the year before was 87) and this year it popped up to 101. There have been other infrequent signs that he has been struggling with increasing blood sugar - such as the smell of ketones on his breath, lethargy and generally his body has seemed to be less resilient to colds and flu. Stress seemed to really weigh down his health and stamina.

My husband doesn't fit the image of type 2. He is an accomplished amateur runner having run 48 marathons numerous ½ marathons, 10 milers and 10k races, and his last big endeavor was completing Hawaii Ironman. That's not the guy who should have high blood sugar.

We think the that for some time we knew he would be prone to diabetes, despite his fitness and investment in being healthy. When we first started dating, we were walking around Seattle, after he had run a half marathon, when all of the sudden he became light headed and sweaty. Realizing he had not had much to eat all morning, I quickly took him into a restaurant and ordered lunch for him and following lunch, he felt much better. We talked about wthether he was suffering from low blood sugar, and he detailed a lenghty history of times that he became lightheaded and sweaty.  I was the first person to talk to him about low blood sugar and how to treat it, which with a few minor changes to his eating routine we pretty much ditched the low blood sugars that had been so routine.

Additionally, my husband's family is full of generations who have had type 2 diabetes. Both grandfathers died from complications of type 2, and his own father passed away at 58 from surgical complications, but his health had taken a hit from years of dealing with type 2 diabetes.

What's Next?

The doctor has ordered an hbA1c to help get a better overview of how often his blood sugar might be fluctuating and to give a proper diagnosis. In any case, we both realize that change is coming and we need to understand what is the best fit for his health.   The good news is that whatever dietary changes we need to make will be as much a benefit to me as it will be for my husband!

Can We Avoid Type 2 Diabetes?

My husband has been hoping for that magic bullet, you know the one that says, "If you take this supplement, you are guaranteed not to get type 2 diabetes!" Additionally, I'm frustrated with the information that says exercise and proper diet prevents type 2 diabetes. This is where I think type 2 diabetes gets shoved into the category of self-inflicted diseases. My husband runs every day and he is thin. Could he clean up his diet? Sure, but not b/c he eats a lot of junk food He would need to assess the insulin resistence and calculate the number of carbs and the type of carbs that would keep his blood sugar level.

I have been living with type 1 for almost half a century and the one thing diabetes has taught me is that change is the only constant in life. For my husband and I, this new part of his life's journey will teach us how to work together in sickness and in health in a new way.  And in this case, I'm not afraid to embrace it.

Here are some links to Type 2 Diabetes information :

Symptoms of Diabetes

Treatment of Diabetes  

Type 2 diabetes: The Chicken or the Egg