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Diabetes Mellitus: Its Impact Upon the BDSM Lifestyle
Diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the United States. It has been called the "new epidemic." With its ever-growing presence, it is inevitable that you will encounter friends and family with this diagnosis. Likewise, you may meet others in the Lifestyle that have Diabetes. It is important to have at least a basic understanding of this disease to play safely with a partner that is diabetic.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes comes in two forms, Type 2, Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes and Type 1, Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Insulin is formed in the pancreas and is the key that allows the bloodstream to release sugar into the body. Without insulin, the sugar remains locked in the bloodstream and may reach dangerous levels. The body could make insulin but not in sufficient quantity or quality to keep the sugar down, as in Type 2, or it can be totally non-functional and secrete virtually no insulin as in Type 1.
What things might I see if blood sugar is low?
Blood sugar can drop due to an increase in physical activity, missing or not eating meals on time, or taking too much insulin or diabetic medication.
The symptoms of low blood sugar are:
- cold, clammy, sweaty skin
- shakiness and a lack of coordination
- irritability, hostility, anxiety and erratic behavior
- staggering or poor balance
- excessive hunger
- blurred vision
- abdominal pain or nausea
How can I treat low blood sugar?
If your diabetic partner is exhibiting any of the symptoms of low blood sugar, you can intervene to prevent the sugar from dropping further. Have them sit down and give them a form of sugar that will absorb quickly. This can be ¾ cup of juice or non-diet soda, 3 teaspoons of honey or jelly, or candy (eight Lifesavers or five hard candies). Do not give chocolate - it takes the sugar in it too long to break down. Monitor the person, wait 15 minutes and repeat if there is no improvement. You should only attempt to give the person something by mouth if they are awake and conscious. If they lose consciousness, call 911 and roll the person on their side. Should they begin to have a seizure, stay with them, keep them on their side, and protect them from bumping their head or other body part. Do not try to put anything in their mouth.
What things might I see if blood sugar is high?
Blood sugar can become elevated when there are changes in the eating pattern, especially when there is too much sugar consumed. Elevations can also occur with emotional stress, medication interactions and side effects, and physical illness. High blood sugar, left untreated, eventually results in damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves of the feet, heart disease, circulation problems in the legs, and problems with impotence.
The symptoms of high blood sugar are:
- excessive thirst
- increased urination
Prolonged elevation can result in:
- weight loss
- blurred vision
- yeast infections
- poor wound healing
How is high blood sugar treated?
High blood sugar can only be treated with insulin or diabetic medication. These changes need to be made through the physician. Essentially the only thing you can do is to be observant enough to notice the symptoms and encourage the person to see a qualified medical professional.
How can this impact my lifestyle activities?
As you read the symptoms of low and high blood sugar, it's easy to envision the dangers a scene could present. There can be problems with vision, balance, sensation, and behavior. These symptoms have different implications depending on whether the Top or bottom is impaired. Scenes can be highly emotional and can induce changes in blood sugar. Poor vision, dizziness, impaired balance, and decreased sensation can impair the ability to accurately handle a whip or other instrument that requires precision or judge when limits are reached. Changes in circulation and sensation can impair the ability to accurately perceive pain. Persons that are diabetic should always avoid having their feet bound, whipped or tortured in any fashion. Poor wound healing may result in the loss of a limb and feet are particularly vulnerable.
These are just a few of the reasons why it is imperative that all medical conditions and medications are reviewed with your partner before beginning any scene. Don't just ask if they are diabetic; ask them how well their sugars are controlled. Ask them what to do if a problem arises. Make sure that you're prepared and have juice or candies available and that you can explain their health condition to others, should that be necessary.
The greatest risk arises when a person that is unaware that they have diabetes experiences symptoms. Many symptoms of high and low blood sugar overlap and can be mistaken. Never hesitate to call 911 if your partner is unconscious or not responding properly. The more knowledge we have about the diseases of the body, the more responsible we become as a partner. Know your body and know your partner!
By no means is this meant to be an all-inclusive list of the signs and symptoms or treatment for fluctuations in blood sugars. If you have any of these symptoms on a regular basis, see your physician immediately for a thorough medical examination. Be well and play safely and responsibly!
Mistress Tammy has also written Coronary Heart Disease: Angina & Heart Attack: Its Impact Upon the BDSM Lifestyle