Diabetes and Bipolar Disorder 



My Diabetes and Bipolar
I became diabetic about the same-time I was diagnosed with Bipolar. The nurse in me wondered if one had to do with the other. I say this because when I was carrying my children, I developed gestational diabetes. My OB GYN’s even considered treating me with insulin. From the time I got pregnant with my daughter, I noticed a sudden change in my behavior. Irritability, short temperedness, tired, along with the usual signs of diabetes. 

When my bipolar was clearly evident, my A1C was also on the rise. An A1C also known as glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c. The Mayo Clinic describes an A1C as “a common test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes…a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen-is coated…the higher your A1C, the poorer your blood sugar is controlled and the higher your risk of diabetic complications.” A normal A1C normal range is between 4.5 -6%.  

Knowing my family history of adult onset diabetes and the occurrence of gestational diabetes, I would ask for an A1C during my yearly physicals. Despite my requests, my primary care DO at the time ignored my signs of increased thirst, lethargy, frequent urination which an operating circulator can not denied and would not order an A1C. Until I developed signs of a very painful salivary gland swelling which occurred several times during this period of time. Again I asked for an A1c that came back 7.6%. This should have been a red flag for the nurse practitioner but was shrugged off due to my sudden weight gain. It took medicine another 2 years before I was finally found to be non-insulin dependent diabetic. By now, I have added peripheral neuropathy, metabolic syndrome, early CAD, and other complications that are better able to be managed.

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage particularly that occurs in the feet and gradually moves up towards the torso. My high blood pressure and frequent urination began starting show early signs of cardiac disease. Frequent illnesses and development of gastroparesis or metabolic syndrome. Other such signs is mental health. Well, that’s interesting.

As an RN, I’v seen many diabetics over the years that I unconsciously became somewhat desensitized to the disease. Suffering from the early signs myself, I can attest that the disease is far from a common cold. My most alarming symptoms was the fatigue and knowing I don’t feel well. A sudden fluctuation of my blood sugar would leave me with a vagal like response and feeling like I was fading to unconsciousness. Not only was my lumbar spondylosis preventing me from working but,I couldn’t imagine working in this condition. In fact, I reduced my hours taking a part-time job near home. The signs and symptoms were obvious to me. Breaking out into excessive sweating and extreme hunger and immunological abnormality exhibited as Bell’s Palsy all , of which, kept me from keeping me from my commitment to my job, that I’m certain those I worked with took notice as well. 

Now that I’ve advanced to IDDM (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus). I decided to do some research of comparing diabetes to bipolar. I’ve found my theory to affirm my curiosity. I hope that my readers will find this as helpful as it has to me.
An article I found written by D.F. Horrobin and C.N. Bennett “depression and bipolar disorder: the relationships to impaired fatty acids and phospholipid metabolism and to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immunological abnormalities, cancer, and osteoporosis.” Did I mention that my latest diagnosis is being treated due to my lab results for osteoporosis? Their findings confirmed that depression and bipolar are have a worse outcome than non-depressed individuals.  

A chapter from the book, Bipolar Disorders-an internal journal of psychiatry and neuroscience discussed the “prevalence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in a research sample of patients with bipolar disorder.” Taken from the chapter, the objective was the presence of metabolic abnormalities is an important risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

The method was having 60 patients with bipolar disorder for the study.

The result findings showed a prevalence of metabolic syndrome of 6.7% who met diabetic criteria and 23.3% were find pre-diabetic.

The conclusion indicates that metabolic syndrome and glucose abnormalities are highly prevalent among bipolar patients. Along with a high risk for heart disease and metabolic disorders.

The recommendation or treatment plan should include that bipolar patients are closely monitored for these risk factors.

I am intrigued to learn that bipolar and these above risk factors do have a correlation with one another. I wouldn’t dare assume that the signs common to that of bipolar means that I can dismiss my mental state. I believe this is important for me to point out as this discussion my be misconstrued as such.

My current state with diabetes has shown that I remain uncontrolled with my blood sugars. Of course, most of which, I am to blame for my noncompliance. Now that my A1C has come back 8.9, I must not ignore the mode of treatment. It is noted that while I must increase my dose of insulin, my weight will increase and the more severe life threatening complications has the potential to a walk down death row without looking back. Perhaps, my last statement maybe taking my illness a bit overboard but, there is no room to taking the disease as no big deal. I may conclude that the better controlled my blood sugar to normal levels the better my recovery with bipolar will be.

I should mention that for me as a treated bipolar with some very harsh sedated medications, my climb to good health is a greater challenge than most. It’s not easy for this patient to obtain such energy when taking Seroquel, Lamicatal, Neurotin, and Cymbalta. I can attest that the motivation exists but, the energy does not. Therefore, the idiosyncratic effect is in such a state of opposing factors makes my compliance is nearly impossible to achieve but, achieve I must. One a side note, a half an hour after taking my seroquel I have a terrible craving for something sweet. I try to rectify this aversion by taking the medication before bedtime. Sometimes it helps and sometimes I can not sleep without having a bowl of cereal.  

It is my hope that a reader will find this helpful and be comforted of the adversity with suffering from diabetes and bipolar disorder.

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