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Dentist Diagnoses Diabetes

  1. Aug 11, 2006 #1
    A couple months ago the side/rear of my left canine tooth sort of exploded off for no reason I can think of. I thought at first I must have had a filling in it I'd forgotten about since I can't see back there.

    Anyway, I got to the dentist this morning and after examining it she started asking me over and over if there'd been any changes in my health lately. The first time this question is routine, The second and third time it's fishy, and I asked her what was up.

    She said my breath smelled of acetone and that this was a red flag for diabedes.

    When I got home I googled and the wikipedia confirmed this. However, I don't have any other of the symptoms mentioned. Yet, I'm really bothered by this because, as a dentist, she must be a sort of expert on people's breath and acetone is a pretty distinctive aroma.

    This ticks me off because only fat people are supposed to get diabedes and I've just been on a diet and lost 35 pounds of middle aged gut. I'm very lean and skinny: you can see all my stomach muscles. It's like, the people who pass out diseases ought to keep up with this stuff: I'm not an internet potato anymore. I take a walk every day. No more doughnuts.

    I'm trying to spin this into something positive in my mind. Like: with solvent breath I should be able to breath on a cigarette lighter at will and become a kind of Godzilla for entertainment purposes at parties, but I've had no luck with getting my exhalations to ignite. Haven't been able to strip any paint with it either.

    Anyway, now I guess I have to have this checked by a GP. There's some slim chance the dentist was having olfactory hallucinations but from what I read this smell is pretty much a definitive sign. This is VERY annoying.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2006 #2
    Type 2 can hit around middle age, any family history of it? And no, it dosent just plague fat people.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2006 #3

    Evo

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    Were you on a low carb diet at the time, or any diet? It can cause ketosis, which gives you acetone breath.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketosis

    "Deliberately induced ketosis through a low-carbohydrate diet has been used to treat medical conditions. The ketogenic diet is an approach to treating epilepsy, and the Atkins Nutritional Approach is marketed for treating obesity. The very low calorie, medically supervised Lighter Life diet also uses ketosis for weight loss"

    "Ketones are a normal and efficient source of fuel and energy for the human body. They are produced by the liver from fatty acids, which result from the breakdown of body fat in response to the absence of glucose/sugar. In a ketogenic diet, such as Atkins ... or diets used for treating epilepsy in children, the tiny amounts of glucose required for some select functions can be met by consuming a minimum amount of carbs - or can be manufactured in the liver from PROTEIN. When your body is producing ketones, and using them for fuel, this is called "ketosis".

    http://www.lowcarb.ca/tips/tips011.html
     
  5. Aug 11, 2006 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    The important thing is to get checked out. My neighbor didn't realize that he had a problem until he went blind while driving to work one morning. Luckily he managed to pull over before running off the road, and his sight did eventually return.
     
  6. Aug 11, 2006 #5
    There's some hope in this since, yes, I have radically altered what I eat in the past few months. Basically I adopted a no fat diet which means no meat, no breads. No breads means no bread, doughnuts, cookies, muffins, croissants, etc. All those breads are made with alot of shortening, butter, or are deep fried.

    I do eat: alot of fruit, raw vegetables, rice, beans, tuna fish, cottage cheese, and anything that seems low calorie, like say, pickles.

    The ketogenic diet for epilepsy is often called a "high fat" diet, and that can't be causing my acetone breath. All you eat on that diet is full of fats.

    The way I eat now may constitute a low carb diet, though, even though I'm not specifically intending some sort of Atkin's approach.

    I've greatly reduced sugar, too, from how much I used to eat.

    This info makes me feel better. There didn't seem to be any alternative to diabedes causing this acetone breath before this. Thanks Evo.
     
  7. Aug 11, 2006 #6
    No family history. I can't think of one relative with diabedes.

    And, although obese people are most often mentioned as being at risk, the very first person I ever met who got the diagnosis was very lean and skinny. He'd fainted suddenly at the office, which is what tipped them off.
    This is what the dentist said: it can be more or less asymptomatic in some people for a while.
     
  8. Aug 11, 2006 #7

    turbo

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    Zooby, please get it checked out promptly. Diabetes can have some severe health consequences, and many of them involve your eyesight. I used to maintain the fundus cameras, lasers, etc for a large opthalmic practice and many of the patients with serious problems were diabetics.
     
  9. Aug 11, 2006 #8

    Math Is Hard

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    No way this is possible. Zoobies don't get diabetes. I think you reached for the mouthwash in the dark and accidentally gargled with nail polish remover.
     
  10. Aug 11, 2006 #9
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  11. Aug 11, 2006 #10
    I just went and made an appointment. They're going to see me this Tuesday afternoon.

    I'm not sure what to do in the meantime. Should I eat a little sugar everyday, or avoid it all together? Anything else I should or shouldn't eat assuming the worst?
    I may do this out of curiosity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  12. Aug 11, 2006 #11
    Just eat as you would do normally, if you plan to eat this way for the rest of your life..which is a good sense diet your following. Don't change anything untill the Dr tells you somethings up.
     
  13. Aug 11, 2006 #12

    turbo

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    Good deal! I watched my father in law suffer amputations and other problems - he was a good man!
     
  14. Aug 11, 2006 #13

    Evo

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    Glad that you're going to the doctor, but I wouldn't worry, after that diet you described, it's probably ketosis.

    My mom has had the mild form of diabetes for years, she just watches her diet, doesn't need insulin.

    So don't worry. Worry will kill you.
     
  15. Aug 11, 2006 #14

    Moonbear

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    I don't think so. I thought the diet he described sounded pretty healthy with fruits and vegetables, rice, and somewhat low in protein. That's not a ketogenic diet. That sort of diet would actually be good for someone with diabetes, which might be why he hasn't noticed other major symptoms yet. He may be keeping his blood sugar somewhat controlled with his diet.

    Zooby, stick with the diet you're on until you see the doctor, and they can tell you if you need to change it.

    In any case, everyone here is talking like diabetes is a death sentence. It's only bad if you don't treat it. If you get to the doctor before you start having any major problems with it, and follow their instructions/take any medications prescribed so that you keep it under control, it need not be anything more than a minor inconvenience. Depending on the type and severity of your case, you may only need to take a pill for it. Be thankful your dentist noticed the symptoms before they got bad enough for you to notice yourself. It's much better than not noticing until you start having vision problems or go into a diabetic coma.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2006
  16. Aug 11, 2006 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Diabetes is a real pain in the rear, but if that's it, you will adjust. Just avoid bee hives and sweet berries, and stick with the leaves, nuts, backpackers...

    For me it was a relief to be diagnosed as this explained why I always felt like crap.
     
  17. Aug 11, 2006 #16

    Evo

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    I often develop ketosis from bad eating habits. It's a signal for me to eat normally again.

    But I know I'm healthy otherwise. I agree zoob needs to see a doctor to make sure, but not worry himself to death in the meantime.
     
  18. Aug 11, 2006 #17

    DaveC426913

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    I was diagnosed early, and that was a blessing. I've avoided (so far) all the bad things that can happen with undiagnosed Diabetes.

    So I live a completely normal life. No drag for me. Frankly, it has been great.

    The silver lining about (Type II) Diabetes is that the majority of management is actually a matter of good health practices - eat well, exercise, keep your weight in check. If everyone lived their lives as if they had Diabetes, we'd be a much healthier people.

    So I take better care of myself - I eat better and exercise (a little) more. Getting Diabetes may have actually increased my life span.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2006
  19. Aug 12, 2006 #18

    FredGarvin

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    If it's any consolation, my father was diagnosed when he was in his early 50's. He is now 75 and is doing wonderfully. He adjusted and manages his diet and blood sugar so the effects have been minimized. No one on my Dad's side had ever been diagnosed with it. He was the first. Of course, it doesn't look good that my older brother was diagnosed with it when he was in the Navy. He was in good shape and was definitely not overweight. Ironically, my brother was at the dentist when he "found out." He ended up passing out in the chair.
     
  20. Aug 12, 2006 #19

    selfAdjoint

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    It's now now ttwenty years since I was diagnosed with type II diabetes (Fall 1986). I am in excellent health, my blood sugar runs between 80 and 130, and the only "symptoms" I have are some neuropathy effects in my toes. But many nondiabetic men my age have that too.

    Type II diabetes is NOT like type I diabetes; it is in no way a sentence of early death. Diet and excercise can control it. My doctor told me that if push came to shove, my lifestyle would control my blood sugar even without medication.
     
  21. Aug 12, 2006 #20
    Thanks everyone for the stories of how you're dealing with it and still doing well, and for the encouragement to make sure and get to a doctor about it. I think there is a good chance Evo is right since I am still on the diet and still losing fat. That is: my calorie intake is still less than maintainance level.

    If the worst turns out to be the case, though, I may be consulting with you for tips and such.
     
  22. Aug 14, 2006 #21
    According to this, and other sites, ketoacidosis the state in which one's breath has a fruity and/or acetone smell, is an emergent condition requiring immediate medical attention:

    Is this correct or not? Do all of you with diabetes frequently have fruity/acetone breath in non-emergency situations?
     
  23. Aug 14, 2006 #22

    Moonbear

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    Do you have any of those other symptoms, such as frequent urination or insatiable thirst, or vomiting, or generally feeling very tired? You may not have even noticed something like drinking more frequently if you're just thinking it's a hot summer and you're thirsty from the heat. And when you called your doctor, did you mention that the dentist noticed acetone odor on your breath?

    If any of the other symptoms start to appear, call your doctor again and see if you can get your appointment moved earlier. Maybe you can schedule a nurse's appointment sooner just to have a finger stick blood test done to check where your glucose levels are and if they are high enough to need immediate treatment, and to reassure yourself a bit until the appointment with your doctor arrives (if it's really high, they won't let you leave once there until you see the doctor anyway, so you won't have to sit around several days wondering and worrying if it's too high).

    I've never actually heard of the acetone breath odor as a first symptom before, but maybe those with more personal experience with diabetes know otherwise. I've usually heard of it more in the context of someone who is staggering around in an altered mental state and then collapses to identify when giving first aid that they are likely diabetic in need of insulin, not drunk and passed out.

    Do you have a relative or friend or neighbor nearby who you can check in with once or twice a day and who can keep an eye out for you in case you get to a stage where you're not able to call or drive yourself before your doctor's appointment? When my step-father was diagnosed, it got to that point...the symptoms came on pretty suddenly, or at least the ones they recognized as symptoms...overnight he suddenly started with the unquenchable thirst, and since he started drinking milk and juice instead of water, he really drove up his glucose levels quickly, so that by morning, he was already showing signs of confusion, and my mom got him to a doctor immediately...at that point, he would not have been able to call for a doctor himself or to get there without someone else driving. It'll be a good idea to have someone else around who knows you well to check in for the first few weeks you're treating the diabetes too, if that's what it turns out to be, just in case your blood sugar levels fluctuate too much as you're adjusting to your medication doses and schedules.
     
  24. Aug 14, 2006 #23
    So, Ivan, Dave, SelfAdjoint, and others with relatives who have it: do you see acetone breath as a normal, non-critical part of this disease?

    I'm not going to cancel my appointment to have it checked, but this is seeming more and more like a false alarm, since I was, and have continued, to feel perfectly normal and the acetone breath of ketoacidosis seems to be exclusively a part of a diabetic crisis from the sites I've checked.
     
  25. Aug 14, 2006 #24

    selfAdjoint

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    What do you suppose a diabetic "feels like"? There is no feeling that will tell you you're a diabetic any more than there's one to signal high blood pressure. Get the damn test! Bad ketone metabolism is NOT A GOOD SIGN in a diabetic. Not panic time but time to have your blood checked professionally and an internist to look you over.
     
  26. Aug 14, 2006 #25

    DaveC426913

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    Ah OK, in the context of Diabetes, acetone breath is bad. It is an indication that your body is past the stage of ridding sugar through your urine and starting to break down muscle (ketones are from the proteins). I'm no doctor, but I've never heard of acetone breath being non-critical in regards to diabetics.

    Now, truth be told, that does NOT mean there aren't false positives. There can be other reasons for this symptom that have nothing to do with diabetes.

    Acetone breath is only an indicator. There are lots of other symptoms you might be experiencing:
    intermittent blurry vision
    unexplained weight loss
    frequent urination
    excessive thirst
    tingling in the feet
    numbness in the feet
    confusion, inability to concentrate
    plus the usual irritability, fatigue, etc.

    Before being diagnosed, I experienced all but the foot problems - and I was only an undiagnosed Diabetic for a mere year (meaning the symptoms showed up rapidly).
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2006
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