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My Dad Has Type 1 & Refuses To Eat - Help

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by Zik, May 26, 2016.

  1. Zik

    Zik Don't have diabetes · Member

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    Hello there,

    So, my Father (53 year old, slightly over-weight) has Type 1 diabetes and has red swollen legs and really cracked skin. His sugar used to be 20+ but they've regulated it down to 9~13 (still quite high, I'm told).

    The problem is... he simply won't eat properly. He's living on one sandwich a day and 15+ cups of coffee with 2 and 1/2 sugars in. Each day is an argument to get him to eat right. He says he has no appetite. I sympathise with him because I know what it's like to eat without hunger... but at the same time, I know he needs to eat!

    I'm so tired of trying to get him to eat. I don't want him to die. He's not taking anything seriously. I am so scared I will lose him.

    Please.. help me, any tips or suggestions... just.. anything..

    Zik
     
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  2. paulliljeros

    paulliljeros Other · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Zik, Welcome to the forum. How long has he been diagnosed T1, does he test his blood sugars, does he take insulin (regularly) and does he go to the diabetic clinic at all? I feel they are some questions that will, depending on the answers, steer the feedback you get in the first instance.
     
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  3. azure

    azure Type 1 · Expert

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    Hi @Zik

    That sounds like a stressful situation for you, trying to help your dad. As @paulliljeros has said, if you can give us a little more info that'd help get the best advice.

    The first thing that hit me was your dad's coffee intake. I love coffee but I limit myself to a cup or two a day. I find too much coffee kills my appetite. Do you think your dad could gradually cut down? I think that might help.

    The best thing for diabetes is a routine - for eating and for insulin. That way you don't have to think about it so much. Has your dad been offered any help from a dietician? Has he always not eaten much or is this a recent thing?

    Edited to add that I've moved your thread to the Type 1 section where hopefully more Type 1s will reply with advice and support :)
     
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  4. paulliljeros

    paulliljeros Other · Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, I wouldn't worry quite so much about the coffee, as the 37.5 teaspoons of sugar he is having with it, however, I am guessing you have tried to tell him not to do this, to no avail, so if we can start to break down the issues, and look at them as a lot of smaller quick wins, it'll be easier to tackle the whole problem.
     
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  5. BeccyB

    BeccyB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Having all that sugar in his coffee is likely to be making his blood sugar level like a roller-coaster and that will make him feel unwell in itself. Any chance you could get him to change to a sweetner? Or reduce it?

    Sounds like he's determined to keep his head buried in the sand, I wish I had some amazing idea for you, it must be so hard for you :-( Hopefully someone will be able to offer more practical help
     
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  6. GrantGam

    GrantGam Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hello.

    Sorry to hear about your problem and of course for your father's issues.

    Okay so the coffee, chuck the sugar straight away and change to sweetner! That is an incredible amount of sugar for a type1 diabetic to be consuming in a day. He will probably need to adjust his insulin to compensate for this drastic drop in sugar intake.

    I hope that the higher than ideal blood sugar is the cause for your Dad's lack of appetite. If my sugars run high I feel a little queezy.

    It might be good for your Dad to arrange an appointment with a dietician. The diabetic team should offer this during the routine appointments. They will be able to help with meal planning and possibly suggest some foods that are easy to eat with a lacking appetite.

    Hope this can be if some use to you. Diabetes is a terrible condition to accept and deal with but something that must be done in order to avoid feeling even worse than you already are.

    Good luck and keep using this forum for support and advice. There are a lot of knowledgeable people here to help. Your father should take a visit also :)

    Regards,
    Grant
     
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  7. robert72

    robert72 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Is he on fixed doses of insulin? It's possible that he is unwittingly feeding his insulin with the sugar in his coffee. Which insulin(s) is he on? Does he know how to count carbs?
     
  8. Zik

    Zik Don't have diabetes · Member

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    Oh, I'm so sorry! I forgot to add the important stuff.

    My Dad takes insulin twice a day, and he cannot attend a clinic physically as he is disabled, so we have a nurse from the clinic visiting us every two weeks and keeping in-touch via phone once per week.

    He tells them he has no appetite and they tell him "as long as you eat something during the time you need to take your insulin, it will be ok", but I just can't accept this. How can a human being live on one sandwich a day and loads of coffee?

    He has always ate like this, though, it's not a new thing. I have spoken to him about it and he said he has no appetite and if he eats he will bring it back up. (I should also point out he has irritable bowel syndrome, too).

    He's also not willing to cut down on coffee. He tried sweeteners instead of sugar, but says they are disgusting.

    I just don't know what to do for the best, I don't want to lose him.. but he's not helping himself and I can't force him.
     
  9. Zik

    Zik Don't have diabetes · Member

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    He's on fixed doses but they are still in the process of altering this to find the suitable amount for him to control his BS? I think. I've tried so hard to educate him on carbs, but he doesn't take it seriously enough.
     
  10. robert72

    robert72 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It's possible that he might have gastroparesis if he can't keep food down - nerve damage causing delayed stomach emptying. Does he have meds for anything like that? Maybe Domperidone or Metoclompramide.
     
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  11. Zik

    Zik Don't have diabetes · Member

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    No medication for it. I've had him taken to the Doctors office as well as had the Doctor come here to the house over it, but they put his appetite down to his depression and leave it at that. They don't fully check in my opinion, feels like we get fobbed off.
     
  12. robert72

    robert72 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It would be worth mentioning gastroparesis to his doctors. I have it quite mildly and can fully understand why he doesn't want to eat if he feels sick.
     
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  13. paulliljeros

    paulliljeros Other · Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you from my own experience, that if you demand a list of changes (4 injects/day, a BG test before each injection/food, no sugar, set carbs for every meal, and 4 square meals/day) to what he deems to be a perfectly comfortable lifestyle, you will likely get little more than denial and refusal to change. It is better to look at the bigger picture, and try to make smaller gradual changes instead. I would start with changing to 1.5 tsp sugar + 1 sweetener for a week, and then try to get down to 0.5 sugar + 2 sweeteners etc. Don't try and do it covertly, it'll probably turn into a challenge to beat each other, and no-one will win! With so much sugar each day, his body doesn't need carbs, and so he simply won't want to eat ... I don't think many on here feel hungry when their sugars are running high, I know I don't.
    Sometimes, I just don't feel like eating, and it's taken a while to convince the people around me, it's ok, I won't eat, and I 'll just reduce my bolus accordingly, but it depends if your dad understands this, and understands how to do it. I think it will take give and take on both sides, and if he sees that your not telling him to change everything in one go, perhaps he'll opt to make some smaller changes for an easier life (with less nagging). In hindsight, I see that those close to me only had my best interest and health at heart, but as soon as they TOLD me to do something, I invariably did the opposite!
    Perhaps draw up a list of all the things you want to change, and start trying to change them one at a time?
     
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  14. SunnyExpat

    SunnyExpat Prefer not to say · Well-Known Member

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    You could try switching over to de-caff.

    I used to drink a lot of coffee, and it can irritate my stomach, and can certainly affect my mood in that quantity.

    De-caff has got much better, I can't tell the difference most of the time.
    Does he take milk with it, if so, what type, as that affects the carbs?
     
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  15. Munsa

    Munsa Type 1 · Member

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    I totally agree with you regarding this but would say that this guy has to WANT to change his lifestyle. Unfortunately, not everyone can or wants to do this and no amount of cajoling or threats will work. Hope he manages to work this out.
     
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  16. Zik

    Zik Don't have diabetes · Member

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    Thank you so much, everyone, from the bottom of my heart... for all of the tips & advice/suggestions. I'm going to put them to my Father today and hope he will be willing to help himself.

    I really do appreciate the responses. You guys have been more help to me than his health professionals have been for two years.

    Zik
     
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  17. RoseofSharon

    RoseofSharon Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi I'm type 2 so things are slightly different for me, however I too have IBS and find that what I eat definitely has an effect. Knowing what to eat when the diagnosis hits can be a challenge, as you have to juggle whats good for the blood sugar, with the general household diet, with what is going to make you run to the loo urgently (sorry tmi I know). For me I had all of that worked out, and was happily not eating until late afternoon/early evening before I was diagnosed and then bam! Then diagnosis came and I had to change my diet yet again. Nowdays I find that a liquid lunch (usually a can of soup) is quite nice and doesnt feel as though I am having a heavy stodgy meal. I don't now if that would help your dad at all.

    Talk to your dad it may be that amongst other things he just doesnt know what he can eat without upsetting that delicate balance. In terms of sweeteners I can totally relate but have found that splenda is about the nicest of the bunch, however it is personal taste preference which sometimes we need to reeducate.
     
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