Living with Both HIV and Diabetes
Living with diabetes or HIV can turn someone’s life upside down but when you are diagnosed with both it can leave you breathless. However, it has been seen that when detection is made early for diabetes in patients that are HIV positive the survival rate has increased. The most common diabetes in HIV patients is type 1. There are three different patient subgroups. Firstly these are those who have diabetes and get HIV, those who are diagnosed with HIV and diabetes at the same time and those who are diagnosed diabetic after they have already started therapy for the HIV. Depending on which group you fall into, this will make a difference in treatment.
There are many different risk factors for diabetes in HIV patients. Things to be aware of include a low CD4 count, a body mass index that is high, age, being of the male gender, culture and even ethnic background can play a role. Hepatitis C is also a high risk for those who are HIV positive and patients that contract this are at an even higher risk for diabetes. This is especially true for patients who are over the age of 40. Endocrine abnormalities are also linked to HIV which means that there is a greater chance of insulin resistance which of course leads to diabetes.
A patient who has been diagnosed as HIV positive should know that it is important for them to be tested for diabetes as well. If you are taking HAART medication it is not only important for you to be tested in the beginning of the treatment but also between three and six months after the treatment has begun. Of course you will want to get tested on a regular basis for diabetes to make sure that your insulin levels are not going crazy due to your illness or any medications that you may be taking for the HIV. Remember, early detection is the key to getting and staying healthy at all times.
Yes there are going to need to be changes in your lifestyle no matter if you have one or both of the diseases. These include adjustments to your diet, getting more exercise and physical activity in your daily routine and of course if you are a smoker there is no better time to kick the habit. In order to keep your mental stability you may want to join a support group or seek professional help on your own to keep sane with everything that will be going on in your life and around you. Avoiding depression is vital to your physical and mental well-being.
If you are someone who was taking medication for diabetes, such as insulin, prior to the diagnosis of HIV, it is important to continue taking the medication even after the diagnosis. There may need to be some changes in the amounts or times that you are taking it and of course you want to make sure that it does not affect other medications that you may need to take.