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Diabetes

How Much Longer Will He Live?

09/07/2011

Question:

My non-compliant husband with uncontrolled diabetes refues to see the doctor for crystels/foam/cludy urine, alcoho breath.  Also he is a heart patient, has kidney damagem and is a heavy smoker.  How much longer to live?  He is in denial.  He does take few meds, but thinks that is all he needs. This is very stressful to watch.

Answer:

Although it is difficult to really predict, studies have shown that on average men with diabetes live 7 years less than men without diabetes. Your husband has several risk factors which can shorten his life: known heart disease, kidney damage, and smoking. All of these can lead to an early death. His urine and alcohol breath could be due to liver disease or from poorly controlled diabetes. I am sorry that you are experiencing this -- it can be extremely difficult to watch a spouse not take care of himself. He can take several steps to improve his health, but it all starts with a commitment to work with his doctor to get better control of his diabetes, to quit smoking, and to take better care of himself. Getting to the root of the problem - why doesn?t he want to take care of himself - is crucial. I hope that you are free to share with him how much you care for him, how much you want him to be around to live a longer life with you (and other family members), and how you'll be there not to nag but to support a healthier life style. I wish you and your husband the best.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University