Living with diabetes blog

Blog: More diabetes myths

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. July 17, 2009

This blog is the second in a two-part series in which we discuss the top 10 diabetes myths.

Hi bloggers. Last week I gave you the first half of my top 10 list of diabetes myths. Here are the final five.

I feel fine, why should I be concerned about my diabetes.

Diabetes generally has no symptoms. At least not until the blood glucose is quite high, and then the symptoms can be rather vague — increased thirst, increased urination and fatigue. A large number of people are walking around with diabetes and are unaware of it. In the long term, consistently elevated blood glucose (above normal range) can cause diabetes complications. Diabetes can be a silent killer. I compare it to having high blood pressure: High blood pressure has no symptoms, but we all know that in the long run uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

I don't need to test my blood glucose; I know my blood glucose level by how I'm feeling.

Many people with diabetes will tell me they instinctively know their blood sugar level by how they feel. While I agree that some people with diabetes seem to be sensitive to changes in their blood glucose levels, research suggests that the majority of people with diabetes cannot accurately judge blood glucose levels. So while some people tell me they don't feel well when their blood glucose is slightly over 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/L), others may have blood glucoses of 350 mg/dl (19.4 mmol/L) and not be aware of it.

If I really take care of myself, always follow my meal plan and exercise faithfully, I can avoid taking diabetes medication.

I wish I could say this is always the case, but I can't. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and multiple factors play a role in its progression. I do feel that in most cases a person can stave off the progression of the disease by good diabetes self-management.

Insulin will make me gain weight.

Being on insulin can make it more of a challenge to lose weight, but it can be done. For many people newly starting insulin, weight gain may be attributed to the fact that insulin helps you use calories that had previously been lost in the urine from high blood glucose levels. Also, people will gain weight from treating frequent low blood glucoses. Insulin resistance can also make it more difficult to lose weight.

If someone is on insulin, they must have type 1 diabetes.

For many people with type 2 or other secondary types of diabetes, insulin is the treatment of choice for controlling their blood glucose. Insulin may be the optimal and safest option for them.

This completes my top 10 list of diabetes myths. I look forward to your comments.



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Jul. 17, 2009