Donna Lalwani, Director of Special Events for The American Diabetes Association.
“I would like to bring up Mr. Eliot LeBow, who is a subject matter expert and has been an Emotional Health and Wellness Advisor for the American Diabetes Association.
Because, he also got involved with the Step Out Movement to stop diabetes & has played a leadership role in leading many workshops. He has done a lot of outreach online in the social media community.
Spreading the message about diabetes awareness and ensuring people get accurate information.
He is one of only a hand full of individuals in the US that does a lot of important health education coaching to fellow individuals who live with diabetes. He will be sharing a little bit more on the relationship with the men’s health and wellness as well as positive sexual health. Offering some ideas and strategies on how to do that both in living with diabetes as well as passing along as a caregiver for someone we care about. So I would like to introduce Mr.
Eliot LeBow to please come up.
“How out of control blood sugar impacts our mental and physical reality.”
By Eliot LeBow LCSW
When blood sugar is high or conversely too low, a person with diabetes will have distortions both mentally and physically. When blood sugar levels return to normal and reality kicks us right between the eyes, what then? Every situation is different. There are ways to prevent these distortions from happening or managing them, so less or no personal damage occurs.
A few years back John was dating this beautiful woman. John would think about her all day. When John was with her, John filled with excitement and delight.
But something happened at the end of their 6th date.
John always considered himself a manly man who could sustain an erection for hours on end, so erectile dysfunction was the furthest thing from his mind. Well, you probably know what happened next but let me move along and not belabor the point.
The sexual performance issue was an embarrassing and a scary moment for John when he didn’t have an erection. Luckily, she was cool about it. The next day they went out to dinner and shared a great chocolate lava cake. John adjusted his insulin and thought things were going great, but in the back of his mind, his was still thinking about it and apprehensive.
They got back to his place and set the mood; scented candles, soft jazz in the background and dim lighting. Everything was perfect except John. He was excited and eager, but he did not rise to the occasion.
“What is wrong with me?” John thought to himself, and then a little voice in the back of his head answered him. John went to check his Blood Glucose (BG) levels.
WOW!!! 390 – John couldn’t believe it! John calculated everything perfectly, but somewhere John missed it. Here’s what John missed:
- John missed the fact that they finished dinner an hour ago. It’s hard for insulin to burn off complex sugars like Chocolate Lava Cake, so his blood sugar went higher than normal for after dinner.
- Next, John probably underestimated some carbohydrates in the meal.
- Last, John was so stressed out about the previous night that his body was releasing excess Cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone released by stress. Anxiety activates cortisol (glucose) secretion, which releases it into the body. Cortisol can and does cause BG imbalances such as hyperglycemia.
So John went around for several days worried that he was going to have to take Viagra to rise to the occasion. In reality, John just needed to test his blood sugar and wait.
The next time they met, they watched a movie while waiting and enjoying their time together. A few hours later after making sure that John’s blood sugars had stabilized at 120, they tried again and no Erectile Dysfunction for this virile man this time. They did it right.
In reality, the symptoms of diabetes can mimic other psychological and physical illnesses. Be careful and double check that what your patient is experiencing isn’t diabetes-related.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.