12 Common Misconceptions About Diabetes, Diabetics and Blood Sugar Levels

With diabetes on the rise (reference) more and more people are getting diagnosed with this auto-immune disease.

If current disease rates will continue, one in three Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes by the year of 2050 (mostly type 2 diabetes).

Here is 12 common misconceptions about diabetes, diabetics and blood sugar levels.

1. You cannot take sugar or sweet things or you will get diabetes.

This information is false.

Taking sugar or high calorie foods in reasonable amounts does not cause diabetes. However if one is predisposed to diabetes or has a strong family tendency toward diabetes, taking high calorie foods may overload the insulin response mechanism and may help induce the problem.

Similarly if one becomes obese due to overeating, there is insulin resistance, meaning that the normal ability of insulin induce the uptake of glucose into fat and muscle cells is affected.

2. You must not start on medications or you will be stuck on diabetic medications forever.

This information is not accurate.

The tendency for a lot of people is to view medications for diabetes with the same distaste as habit-forming drugs, to be taken only when absolutely necessary and in the barest minimum dosage, and stopping them the moment the condition seems well controlled. They do not want to face the fact that their body’s insulin response mechanism has gone haywire and that this is going to be a long term problem.

3. If I get a cut I heal pretty fast. Therefore I cannot be diabetic.

This information is not accurate.

Although in theory healing is slowed down when you have diabetes, this does not seem to translate into slow wound healing all the time. Testing for diabetes is a simple matter involving taking a small drop of blood (the patient has to fast for 12 hours) and checking it for diabetes blood sugar levels.

4. I don’t see ants crawling around where I pee. Therefore I am not diabetic.

This information is not accurate.

Where there be sugar, there be ants. Sugar appears in the urine usually only when the blood levels exceed the renal threshold of about 10mmol/L (about 180mg/100ml). Diabetics do not necessarily have their blood sugar above this level all the time.

5. Don’t hang around diabetics. You will get it from them.

This information is false.

Diabetes is not infectious.

6. You’re diabetic. No more sweets, cakes, chocolates for you.

This information is not accurate.

Take normal foods. Just take smaller amounts, and do not overload on the calories. Read more about glycemic index, part 1 and glycemic index, part 2.

7. You’re diabetic. You need special food like diabetic jams, low calorie foodstuff. Brown bread for you. No more white bread.

This information is false.

Many people will gorge on brown bread in the belief that since the calorie value per gram of food is lower, it is safe to take as much as they like. In the end the total calorie load goes way beyond expectations. Read more about eating bread and gaining weight.

8. If you’re diabetic you have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure.

This information is false.

No real direct relationship. However it is estimated that up to 66% of people with diabetes may also have high blood pressure, and because having both illnesses cause one to have an even more increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, one tends to need to be more aggressive in controlling both illnesses, if both are present.

9. I can’t get children if I am diabetic.

This information is false.

Fertility is not affected. However the chances of your children getting diabetes later in life tends to be higher than normal, and go progressively higher the more of your close relatives have the problem.

10. If I delay my treatment now I can always go on it later if need be. That way I don’t need to be on medications that long.

This information is false.

The longer you wait before treatment, the higher the chances of complications occurring. It is estimated that the varying degrees of kidney impairment or failure will have occurred within 2 years of diagnosis, if there is no treatment.

11. My fasting blood sugar was 8mmol/L (144mg/dL) when I was diagnosed as a diabetic. Now my fasting sugar is 6.5mmol/L (117mg/dL). My diabetes is definitely under control.

This information is not accurate.

Blood sugar levels vary a lot depending on the food that is recently eaten, and on the number of hours elapsed before the blood test. It is so easy to delude oneself into believing that the problem is well controlled – just fast longer, and the blood sugar drops more. See blood sugar levels chart.

12. The doctor didn’t detect any sugar in my fasting urine this morning. My diabetes is under good control.

This information is false.

See no. 4. A lot of moderate diabetics have their fasting sugar levels below 10, so the sugar does not spill over into the urine. Get your diabetes information from your doctor, not from your friends!

We hope this 12 answers will help you settle some of your concerns towards diabetes / diabetics.


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