Ask Dr. Young

Sep 1, 1991

Can diabetes cause absent-mindedness?

Dr. Young: Repeated hypo-glycemia may lead to brain damage which can manifest itself as absent-mindedness or any other neurologic deficit. However, one must have repeated low blood sugars that are long-lasting. As a general rule, mild low blood sugar reactions, which you recognize and are able to take care of promptly, will not lead to any damage.

Are there any alternative methods for diabetes treatment, such as acupuncture?

Dr. Young: Unfortunately there is no cure for Type I diabetes. While we are all frustrated by this, I do not think it should lead us to seek unproven and untested therapies elsewhere. Traditional medicine is quite scientific in its approach to new therapies. These are tested in a controlled situation and monitored by other scientists.

Why are some people with diabetes unable to tolerate heat and humidity?

Dr. Young: If your diabetes is not well controlled, this can lead to dehydration and make heat and humidity much less tolerable. In addition, if you have had long-standing diabetes, your autonomic nervous system can be affected, and this can interfere with your body's ability to regulate its temperature, thereby leaving you much less able to keep cool in hot weather.

Is it true that a low protein diet has beneficial qualities?

Dr. Young: In the past few years, evidence has been accumulating that high protein diets may be harmful to the kidney. While long-term tests of this hypothesis are lacking, short-term experimental results do suggest that lower protein diets, approximately 25 percent less than what is usually recommended, are more beneficial in sparing kidney function. Since low protein diets also tend to be low fat diets because fat and protein tend to go together, I do recommend a low protein, low fat, high complex carbohydrate diet for my patients. its temperature, thereby leaving you much less able to keep cool in hot weather.

All material in this section is provided for general information only, and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. To diagnose specific illnesses and disorders, consult appropriate health professionals.

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