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5 ways diabetes could be killing your relationship

Diabetes has often been called the silent killer along with heart disease. But lesser known is how diabetes plays havoc with the other facets of our life, your romantic relationship in particular.

But before we discuss how diabetes can ruin your love life, here is a quick primer on the types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes – Often referred to as juvenile diabetes, this is often found in children. It is autoimmune, and permanently destroys beta cells in the pancreas, resulting in the body not being able to produce insulin
  • Type 2 Diabetes – This is the most common form found in the general population. This is where the body is not able to use the produced insulin or not able to produce enough insulin at all. Sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits, high incidence of refined flour and sugar in our diet, and lastly obesity are all major causes of this form
  • Gestational Diabetes – It is usually detected between 24 and 28 weeks of the pregnancy and it occurs in about 3-5% of the pregnancies. It might stay on, or disappear in some cases

There are many other forms of diabetes brought on due to genetic reasons or other rare circumstances, which might not be relevant here.

Here are some ways in which managing a condition like diabetes can take a toll on your relationship:

  • Sex Life: In men, diabetic neuropathy can damage erectile tissue making it hard to achieve or maintain an erection. Nearly 33% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction as per some studies. In women, it can cause vaginitis, making sex painful due to burning sensation. Further, the clitoris can stop responding to stimulation due to diabetic neuropathy. Sometimes, the body might even go into low blood sugar levels while engaging in sexual activities, putting a dampener on your mood

couple disappointment

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  • Energy Levels: Your energy levels are dependent on your blood sugar levels of the day. You might feel very tired or lethargic very quickly, restricting the kind of activities you can indulge in. If you thrive in the outdoors or like to go on long hikes or bicycle rides with your kids, you should be very careful about monitoring your body to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that might be brought on by physical exertion

low energy

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  • Moods: Our moods are based on how we are feeling at the time. When the blood sugar level variation brought on by diabetes causes us to be uncomfortable, the same is reflected in our behavior with our loved ones. We might be irritable or crabby or short-tempered with our spouse or children or other family members. It is hard to live with constant emotional fluctuation
  • Food Choices: Your food choices become restricted as you live with diabetes for longer durations. If you are a foodie who enjoys experimenting with cuisines and dishes, you might feel constrained and forced to make decisions that are unnatural to you. You might not even be able to enjoy a slice of cake at your anniversary dinner or party
  • Life is routine bound: One of the key methods of diabetes management is to be disciplined in putting together a routine and sticking to it. It would mean scheduled time to eat, drink, test your daily blood sugar levels, take the insulin injection irrespective of where you are and so on. This would mean that even a simple romantic dinner out with your partner / spouse could become an exercise in logistics and planning rather than a relaxed evening

couple on a date

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Here are some quick early symptoms that might indicate diabetes:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling hands

All it takes is regular moderate exercise, eating at regular hours, healthy food and sleep to prevent this condition from occurring to you. So starting today, pledge to lead a more active life that lives up to the love shown by your partner and kids. And remember to get a simple blood sugar test done every six months!

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda writes about love in the modern era, entrepreneurship, and technology on different platforms. Prior to that, he was a management consultant. He is an MBA from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and BE from National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. Twitter: @InfiniChai