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Diabetes Questionnaire

The following are some of the common questions frequently asked about diabetes…

1. Should people with diabetes eat ‘diabetic’ foods for better sugar control?

There are no health benefits of eating foods labeled as ‘diabetic foods’. In fact, they are often high in calories and fat causing an upset stomach. Thus, it is best to avoid foods labeled as ‘diabetic foods’ and to adhere to a healthy diet that is a necessity for all and not just people with diabetes.

2. Is Type 2 is a mild form of diabetes?

This isn’t true. Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition. But good news is that lifestyle changes and the right treatment can really make a difference. It doesn’t have to stop you from living a full life.

3. Can people with diabetes have sweets?

Nowadays all of us eat too much sugar; reducing added sugar in our diets will help us maintain our health to a large extent. We don’t need sugar in our diet and that’s why sugary drinks and foods should only be eaten in small amounts and not very often.

4. Should people with diabetes exercise regularly?

Absolutely! It’s good for you to be physically active – physical activity and exercise have lots of health benefits and reduce your risk of complications, including heart disease.

5. Do insulin injections have side effects or harm health?

Insulin is normally secreted in our body and when this secretion is inadequate, we top it up with external insulin injections and this is not harmful.
Insulin administration brings about good control of blood sugars thereby delaying the onset of diabetes related complications.
Insulin injections are essential during certain situations like very high blood sugars, pregnancy or post-surgery where it is temporary and can be stopped afterwards. Sometimes it may be the only choice in people who fail to respond effectively to oral anti-diabetic medicines. Also, in people with type 1 diabetes life-long insulin therapy is essential.

5. Do insulin injections have side effects or harm health?

Insulin is normally secreted in our body and when this secretion is inadequate, we top it up with external insulin injections and this is not harmful.
Insulin administration brings about good control of blood sugars thereby delaying the onset of diabetes related complications.
Insulin injections are essential during certain situations like very high blood sugars, pregnancy or post-surgery where it is temporary and can be stopped afterwards. Sometimes it may be the only choice in people who fail to respond effectively to oral anti-diabetic medicines. Also, in people with type 1 diabetes life-long insulin therapy is essential.

6. If I have diabetes, is my child at a risk of developing it in future?

Having a father or mother with Type 2 diabetes increases the chances of the child developing diabetes later in life but on the bright side, this can be delayed or sometimes even be prevented by maintaining a proper lifestyle involving a healthy diet and regular exercise.

7. Can I share my insulin injections with friends or relatives?

NO, definitely not. Each person’s medications are different and would cause serious damage if you interchange your medicines. Also, injectables like lancets for checking blood sugars or insulin needles should not be shared with anyone, be it family or friends.

8. Is diabetes a life-long disease?

Diabetes is a long-term disease but it can be kept under control with a healthy diet and regular exercise alongwith taking the prescribed medications regularly. Good blood sugar control delays the onset of diabetes-related complications that may affect your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.

9. Should I take medicines for diabetes all my life?

If you are able to follow a healthy lifestyle and keep your blood sugars well under control you may not need medications for your diabetes at all. But, if you are already on medications it is a must to consult your doctor before stopping them because dosage adjustments should be done gradually according to your blood sugar levels.

10. I have no time for exercise but I take my diabetes medicines regularly. Is it ok?

This is definitely NOT OK because Type 2 diabetes largely occurs because of unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. Hence, following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is a crucial part of managing your diabetes.

11. My friend takes fewer medications and her diabetes is under good control whereas I take many medicines but still my blood sugars don’t come down. What can I do?

Each person is different and the way diabetes affects each person also varies. What is suitable for one person might not be suitable for the other. That is why there are so many different types of diabetic medications available.
One tip would be to try to have a recheck of your diet and exercise pattern which plays a huge role in improving your blood sugars.

12. My friend eats a lot of sweets but doesn’t have diabetes whereas I have got it!

Development of diabetes involves a large number of factors like physical inactivity, age, family history of diabetes, overweight or obesity and many more. Unhealthy eating habits are only one of those.
Again, sugary foods and drinks harm the health of a person whether they develop diabetes or not and hence it is best to avoid them or keep consumption at a minimum.

13. My diabetes is under control now. Should I still take my medicines?

Yes, because medicines help you to maintain that control which is vital. If you have doubts consult your doctor who will advise you on whether you need to continue the same or a dose reduction can be tried or whether medicines can be stopped altogether. Never stop taking your medications without the advice form a doctor.

14. Why do I need to check my blood sugars regularly?

Regular monitoring of blood sugars is essential to adjust your medications accordingly. It also motivates you to continue treatment and keep your blood sugars under control.

15. What is HbA1c or average sugar test?

HbA1c denotes your three-month average sugar control. Fasting and post-meal sugars are like a screenshot of what is happening in the present whereas an average value gives you a better picture on how your sugars were in the last 3 months.
HbA1c greater than or equal to 6.5 is termed as diabetes.

16. What is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a stage where your sugars are higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose diabetes. This is a golden stage for eye opening and to bring about changes in your lifestyle. Studies have shown that after being diagnosed with pre-diabetes following a healthy diet and exercising regularly delays the onset of diabetes.

17. What are the normal blood sugar levels?

Blood Sugar

Normal

Pre-diabetes

Diabetes

Fasting

< 110

110-125

> or equal to 126

 

2 hours Post-prandial

< 140

140-199

> or equal to 200

HbA1c

<5.7 %

5.7-6.4 %

> or equal to 6.5

18. What is my ideal blood sugar?

Each person’s ideal blood sugar range varies. The target range for your blood sugars are set by your doctor after taking into consideration your present health condition and age. Blood sugar targets are individualized for each patient so that you can gain maximum benefits with minimal side-effects.

To know your ideal blood sugar levels, talk to your doctor.

19. What are the tests that I should do regularly to keep track of my diabetes and its related complications?

  • Fasting and post-prandial blood sugars at least once a month
  • Hba1c (average sugar) – once in 3-6 months
  • Blood pressure at every doctor visit

Annual check-ups:

  • Eye test – retinal screening
  • Comprehensive feet examination
  • Kidney function tests – Blood –> urea, creatinine and electrolytes,  Urine –>  ACR
  • Lipid profile
  • ECG

20. I can see well but why does my doctor still insists me to have my eyes checked?

People with diabetes develop gradual loss of vision (diabetic retinopathy) over time because of uncontrolled blood sugars or long duration of diabetes. Initial stages of diabetic retinopathy have no symptoms but an early diagnosis of the complication through retinal screening can be treated to prevent blindness.