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

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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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
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.
  • 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

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.