Diabetes and Your Kidneys

Do you know how terrifying it is to learn about diabetes? Learning about it and knowing there are millions out there that aren’t making the necessary lifestyle changes that can help them avoid the complications could befall them with this diagnosis.

We have gone over what diabetes can do to your teeth, your eyes, your feet, and now we’re looking at what it can do to your kidneys.

Diabetes can cause diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease amongst adults. About 1 in 3 adults with diabetes has kidney disease. About 30% of those with type 1 diabetes will develop kidney disease and about 10-40% of those with type 2 diabetes will do the same.

The main job of your kidneys is to filter wastes and extra water out of your blood and create urine. Your kidneys also help control your blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy.

Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys causing your kidneys to not be able to clean your blood properly. This can cause your body to retain more salt and water than it should resulting in weight gain and ankle swelling. Waste material can start building up in your blood.

Diabetes can also damage the nerves in your kidneys that can lead to difficulty emptying your bladder. Pressure from your full bladder can back up and injure your kidneys. You can also develop an infection when urine remains in the bladder for too long.

You are more likely to develop DKD if you are a smoker, are not physically active, are overweight, don’t follow your diet plan, eat foods high in salt, have heart disease, or have a family history of kidney failure.

Some early signs of kidney disease include weight gain (from water retention), ankle swelling, frequent use of the bathroom at night, and high blood pressure.

Some late signs of kidney disease include nausea, vomiting, leg cramps, loss of appetite, weakness, anemia, increase fatigue, and itching.

Those with diabetes should have their blood, urine, and blood pressure tested at least once per year. Your kidney doctor, nephrologist, can plan your treatment with you, your family, and your dietician.

End stage renal failure, or kidney failure, is when your kidneys are no longer able to support you in a reasonably healthy state. Your kidney function has fallen to 10-15% leading to drastic measures. This will be either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Dialysis is the process of removing excess water, solutes, and toxins from the blood in people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally. They will remove the blood from your body, put it through a machine for cleaning, and put it back in to your body. Most patients require 1-3 dialysis appointments a week.

To keep your kidneys working in proper functioning order, you need to work with your healthcare team to control your diabetes and high blood pressure (if applicable), get treatment for any urinary tract infections, correct any problems in your urinary system, and avoid medications that can damage your kidneys.

If you have a suspicion that something is going wrong with your kidneys like frequent or infrequent urination, go to your doctor as soon as you can to have it checked out. Better to be safe than sorry.


National Kidney Foundation
Mayo Clinic

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diabetes can lead to many complications that affect other parts of our body, like our eyes, teeth, and even feet. With feet, it is very important to check them daily. Why?

About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage, or neuropathy. Nerves in the feet and legs are most often affected. This nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet and legs. If you can’t feel anything in your feet and you step on something sharp and penetrate skin, how would you know you’re injured? That’s why daily checks are so important for those with diabetes.

Symptoms include numbness, tingling, or pain, but also you may not be able to feel pain, hot or cold.

Other diabetes complications like slow healing can lead to cuts and wounds on your feet to become infected. If infections don’t get better with treatment, it can lead to amputation to keep the infection from spreading.

Factors that can increase your risk of neuropathy include, blood sugar levels that are hard to manage, being overweight, having high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, and being older than 40 years old.

Some ways you can keep on top of your foot health is:

1. Check your feet every day for cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, corns, calluses, or any other changes.

2. Wash your feet every day in warm (not hot) water. Don’t soak your feet, it can dry your feet and cause your skin to crack. Dry your feet completely after you wash them and apply lotion. Don’t put lotion between your toes.

3. Never go barefoot. Always wear socks and shoes.

4. Make sure your shoes fit well and don’t rub your feet too much. Also before putting on your shoes, check them to make sure there’s nothing sharp hiding in them.

5. Trim toenails straight across and smooth any edges with a nail file. If you can’t do them yourselves, have your doctor or a trusted pedicurist help you.

6. Don’t remove corns and calluses yourself. See your doctor to have them removed.

7. Get your feet checked at every health care visit.

8. Keep the blood flowing. Put your feet up when you’re sitting and wiggle your toes for a few minutes several times per day.

9. Choose feet-friendly activities like walking, riding a bike, or swimming.

10. Protect your feet from hot and cold.

You should see your doctor if there are pains or cramps in your legs, thickened yellow toenails, dry or cracked skin of your feet, or if you have a callus with dried blood inside it. If you have a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that doesn’t heal after a few days, you should seek medical help. If you have a foot infection that becomes black and smelly, you definitely need help.

If anything looks funky with your feet, give your podiatrist a call and get it checked out. Check your feet every day and make sure they’re okay. Also, remember to get your blood sugar under controlled levels to decrease your risk of neuropathy.



Diabetic Retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetes complication that affects eyes caused by the damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina). It can cause vision loss and blindness. It develops in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and can also affect those who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and less controlled your blood sugar is, the higher your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

When there is too much sugar in your blood it can lead to the blockage of the tiny blood vessels in your eye, cutting off its blood supply. This causes new blood vessels to grow but they aren’t developed properly and can leak easily.

Are there any conditions that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy?

Yes, there are a couple of conditions that can be caused by diabetic retinopathy.

  • Diabetic macular edema: 1 in 15 diabetics will develop DME. DME occurs when the blood vessels in the retina leak fluid into the macula causing blurry vision.
  • Neovascular glaucoma: the growth of new, abnormal blood vessels can interfere with the normal flow of fluid out of the eye and pressure can build in the eyeball, this heightened pressure in the eye can cause damage to the optic nerve that carries images from the eye to the brain resulting in glaucoma.
  • Retinal detachment: the leaking of the new blood vessels causes scars to form in the back of the eye. The scars pull your retina away from the back of the eye.

Can diabetic retinopathy be treated?

There are several treatments for diabetic retinopathy.

  • Injections: anti-VEGF drugs or corticosteroids can slow down or reverse diabetic retinopathy.
  • Laser treatment: to reduce swelling in your retina, lasers can be used to make blood vessels shrink and stop leaking.
  • Eye surgery: if retina is bleeding a lot or you have a lot of scars, your eye doctor may recommend a vitrectomy.

Having high cholesterol or high blood pressure along with diabetes can increase your odds of getting diabetic retinopathy. You can start to see floaters in your vision, blurred vision, fluctuating vision, dark or empty areas in your vision, or vision loss.

Early diabetic retinopathy or non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), is when the new blood vessels aren’t growing properly. They are weakened as more vessels become blocked.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy or proliferation diabetic retinopathy, the damaged blood vessels close off causing the growth of new abnormal blood vessels in the retina. They are fragile and leak into the clear jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eye (vitreous). The scar tissue from the growth of new blood vessels can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye or cause a build up of pressure in the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy is preventable with proper management of your diabetes. Having uncontrolled high blood sugar over a long period of time can increase your risk of getting diabetic retinopathy. So in order to prevent it, you need to stay physically active (150 minutes per week at least), eat healthy, and always take your medication when you are supposed to.


Mayo Clinic
American Academy of Ophthalmology


Diabetic Ketoacidosis

What is Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious and life threatening condition that impacts primarily type 1 diabetics but can also occur in type 2 diabetics.

How does it occur?

It happens when your body can’t produce enough insulin to help your body’s cell absorb the glucose in your blood to provide energy to your body. So instead your body starts breaking down your fat. Your fat gets broken down by the liver for your body to use as fuel, usually occurs when you go a long period of time between meals.

When your liver breaks down the fat it produces acids called ketones. If fat is broken down too quickly, a buildup of ketones occurs in the bloodstream causing your blood to become acidic. Ketones can overflow from the bloodstream into your urine. If there is a prolonged buildup of ketones in the blood, it could lead to death.

How do I know if I have DKA?

Symptoms occur quickly, usually within 24 hours.

  • Excessive and prolonged thirst
  • Stomach pain
  • Fruity-scented breath
  • Frequent urination
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Deep, rapid breathing
  • Flushed face
  • Muscle stiffness

For more specific signs, you can use home testing kits to test for high blood sugar level or high ketone levels in your urine.

What should I do when I start showing symptoms?

Contact your doctor immediately if you are vomiting or unable to tolerate food or liquid, your blood sugar level is higher than your target range and home treatment is not helping, or if you have moderate to high ketone level in your urine.

Seek emergency care if your sugar is consistently higher than 300 mg/dL, you have ketones in your urine and are not able to reach your doctor for advice, or you show any of the other signs of DKA.

How can I prevent DKA?

  • Commit to managing your diabetes. Eat a healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, take your oral medication and/or insulin every day as needed.
  • Monitor your blood sugar. Check 3 to 4 times per day, more if you are ill or under extreme stress.
  • Adjust your insulin as needed. Contact your doctor or diabetes educator to learn how to adjust your insulin.
  • Check your ketone level.
  • Be prepared to act quickly.


Mayo Clinic
Medline Plus

History of Diabetes

This is a short history of diabetes. From the times of the Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to modern day, diabetes has been present throughout our history.

Diabetes mellitus comes from the words diabetes (Greek) meaning siphon, to pass through, and mellitus (Latin) honeyed or sweet. This is a reference to the excess sugar found in the blood and urine of someone with diabetes. In the 17th century, diabetes was known as the ‘pissing evil’ because of the excessive urination and thirst.

It was first recorded in English in a medical text around 1425 though the symptoms of diabetes were recorded as far back as Ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, diabetes was believed to be a disease of the kidneys, but in the late 18th century they found it occurred in people who experienced an injury to the pancreas. Before proper research and treatment, when someone had symptoms of diabetes it was often thought as a death sentence as they would often die within weeks or months of symptoms appearing.

In 1889, Joseph von Mering and Oskar Minkowski discovered the role of the pancreas in diabetes through research with dogs. They would remove the pancreases of multiple dogs and observe the symptoms of diabetes develop in the dogs before they passed away.

In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer found that diabetes was a result from a lack of insulin.

In 1919, Dr. Frederick Allen introduced a therapy of strict dieting or starvation treatment as a way to manage diabetes, not unlike the treatments that were used by others in history.

In 1921, Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best repeated the work of von Mering and Minkowski. They also gave the diabetic dogs insulin extracts from healthy dogs and found the results to be in their favor. In 1922, they purified insulin from pancreases of cows and created an effective treatment for diabetes available. This earned them a Nobel Prize in 1923.

January 1922 saw the very first patient to receive insulin injections, a 14-year-old named Leonard Thompson. He lived another 13 years before he died of pneumonia at age 27.

In 1936, Sir Harold Percival Himsworth published his work about differentiating between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In 1982, the first biosynthetic human insulin, Humulin, was created that was identical in chemical structure to human insulin. It was mass produced and available globally.

In 1988, metabolic syndrome was discovered by Dr. Gerald Reaven. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition. It is diagnosed when any three of the following five risk factors are present:
• High blood glucose (sugar)
• Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the
• High levels of triglycerides in the blood
• Large waist circumference or “apple-shaped” body
• High blood pressure

In the centuries that diabetes has been present in human history, we as humans have come so far. In Ancient Greece, they prescribed physical activity and a change in diet, just as we do today. Where they might only have lived weeks or months with their condition, now we can survive many years and thrive with diabetes.

Perhaps someday we can find a cure to diabetes instead of preventative measures. There are many organizations around today doing research in diabetes to find a cure. You can help donate to their efforts.

American Diabetes Association
Cures Within Reach
American Society of Nephrology


American Heart Association
News Medical: Life Sciences
Medical News Today

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The Toll of Diabetes on Your Mouth

Diabetes can affect a lot of organs and systems in your body, I’m sure you know that. The nervous system, your kidneys and liver, your heart, even your immune system. But do you know the effects of diabetes on your mouth?

If your diabetes is left untreated, it can take a huge toll on your mouth.

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • The absence of saliva puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay (cavities).
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
  • Problems tasting food.
  • Delayed wound healing.
  • Susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an earlier age than is typical.

Tooth decay (cavities) occurs when you ingest starchy and sugary foods and drinks. They interact with the bacteria in your mouth and create a sticky film known as plaque on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the surfaces of your teeth (enamel and dentin) making it easier for bacteria to get within your teeth. This can lead to gum disease.

Early gum disease (gingivitis) occurs when plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing enough. The plaque hardens under your gumline into tartar (dental calculus). The longer the plaque and tartar remains on your teeth, the more they irritate the gums around the base of your teeth, called gingiva. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is when untreated gingivitis becomes worse and causes a more serious infection. Periodontitis destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually causing your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.

Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can destroy your gums, all the tissue holding your teeth, and even your bones. It is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control and makes you more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

To avoid gum disease, get on a Dental Health Action Plan. This includes:

  • Controlling your blood sugar levels. Change to a healthier diet, exercise more, and brush your teeth. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight any bacterial and fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you wear any type of denture, clean it each day.
  • Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss daily.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups.

Diabetes lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and slows the healing process making periodontitis a larger and dangerous possibility for diabetics.


Mouth Healthy
Mayo Clinic

Does Diabetes Affect Hormones?

In short, to answer that question, no, diabetes does not affect your hormones, however, your hormones have a massive effect on your diabetes and blood sugar levels. Hormones are released by various organs and glands within your body that affects pretty much everything.

Some hormones that affect your diabetes are insulin, glucagon, amylin, epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone. The most directly related hormones are glucagon and everyone’s favorite, insulin. However, even our own sex hormones can affect our blood sugar levels. In those who have ovaries, estrogen and progesterone levels can affect how well our insulin works, or doesn’t. Same with those who have testes, testosterone levels can cause insulin resistance.

Let’s work out our sex hormones first. Estrogen is the hormone that helps with the development of female sex characteristics. It can also improve insulin sensitivity, however, the loss of estrogen can also lead to insulin resistance.

Insulin sensitivity is when your insulin works properly. Insulin resistance is when your insulin sensitivity is low and your cells can’t use your insulin very well.

Progesterone is the hormone that helps the body prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. Progesterone levels go high in the middle of your menstrual cycle and decrease when you’re about to have your period. If you are pregnant, your progesterone levels go up in preparation for the fetus to protect the fetus and allow proper amounts of glucose. However, high levels of progesterone can lead to insulin resistance.

Testosterone helps with the development of male sex characteristics. Lower testosterone levels lead to insulin resistance.

To counteract the affect your changes in life stages on the way your body interacts with your blood sugar, you should:

  • Keep track of your blood sugar levels and show any fluctuations to your doctor to examine and make any necessary changes
  • Watch your weight, being overweight can lead to out of control blood sugar levels
  • Eat a healthy diet full of high-fiber vegetables
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day to help your body use its insulin more properly

You’re going to grow older and your body is going to change, keep up with its changes so you can better manage your diabetes. To learn more about how those life stage changes can affect your diabetes, check out this article.

The other hormones are listed:

  • Insulin – released by the pancreas, allows the body to use glucose for energy by helping cells absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Resistance to insulin will make it difficult for the body’s cells to absorb the sugar causing all that unabsorbed sugar to stay in your bloodstream.
  • Glucagon – produced by the pancreas to control glucose and ketone production in the liver. It gets released between meals and overnight. If you’ve had a high sugar meal, the glucagon won’t be needed as there’s already a lot of sugar in bloodstream which can lead to less and less of the hormone being produced. This low level could cause your blood sugar levels to go too low because there wasn’t enough glucagon to help produce glucose from the liver.
  • Amylin – released along with insulin. It decreases the body’s glucagon levels, this decrease helps to decrease the production of glucose in the liver and slows the rate that food empties out of stomach.
  • Epinephrine – aka adrenaline, released from adrenal glands and nerve endings to stimulate the liver to produce sugar.
  • Cortisol – type of steroid hormone from adrenal gland. Works to make muscle and fat cells resistant to insulin action and enhances glucose production from the liver. High levels of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance.
  • Growth Hormone – released from the brain’s pituitary gland and has the similar functions of cortisol.

All of these hormones help to keep our blood sugar levels in check or keep them out of control. I’m not sure what we can do about helping our hormones to help our blood sugar but there is hormone therapy for our sex hormones.

I don’t think diabetes directly affects our hormones like our hormones do to our diabetes, but having out of control diabetes and blood sugar levels can throw everything out of whack. I hope this post helps lead you to more answers down the line for you.


Diabetes Health

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Possible Causes of Morning Highs

Do you ever just wake up in the morning and check your blood sugar only to find that it’s higher than 125 mg/dL? You were sure you did everything right the night before and yet your sugar is still high. Maybe it’s been high for the past week or two and you don’t know why. There could be a reason behind your morning highs. Two theories that scientists have come up with are the Dawn Phenomenon and the Somogyi Effect. Let’s begin!

The Dawn Phenomenon

Also called the dawn effect, is described as an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar – usually between 2AM and 8AM that occurs regularly in diabetics. The occasional high isn’t much of a worry, but when it happens almost every day, it’s an issue.

There is a natural overnight release of counter-regulatory hormones – the growth hormone, cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine – that increases insulin resistance, causing blood sugar to rise.

High morning blood sugar may also be caused by not enough insulin the night before, low dosage of diabetes medication, or eating a carb-heavy snack at bedtime.

What You Can Do

If you suspect the Dawn Phenomenon, consult with your doctor. Your doctor may make some recommendations to help prevent or correct your high morning blood sugar levels:

  • Avoid carbs at bedtime
  • Eat regular meals (stay consistent with meals per day, times of day, etc.)
  • Adjust your dose of medication or insulin
  • Eat dinner earlier in the evening
  • Switch to a different medication
  • Do some light exercise after dinner, like walking, jogging, or yoga
  • Change the time you take your medication or insulin from dinnertime to bedtime
  • Use an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours

Personally, I have moved from taking my insulin at a set time each night to within one hour of falling asleep. Once I start feeling tired, I inject my insulin. So far my levels have been lower than when I take it at 9:30pm.

The Somogyi Effect

Also known as the rebound effect, is another possible cause of high blood sugar in the morning. Not all scientists believe this effect is real, but it happens when blood sugar levels drop too low.

If a diabetic were to take insulin without a bedtime snack or inject too much insulin, their blood sugar levels may drop during the night. The body then responds by releasing growth hormones that trigger sugar levels to go back up causing blood sugar levels to be high in the morning.

The Difference Between the Two

The biggest difference between the Dawn Phenomenon and the Somogyi Effect is that the Somogyi effect includes a decrease in glucose levels causing hypoglycemia which is then followed by a rebounding hyperglycemia.

The easiest way to find out which one is causing your high glucose levels in the morning is to record you blood sugar throughout the night. Take your sugar before bed, then again at 3AM in the morning, and then once more when you wake up in the morning.

If your 3AM reading is low, there’s a likelihood that the Somogyi Effect is the cause. If your 3AM reading is normal or high, then it is likelier to be the Dawn Phenomenon that caused your morning highs.

The only way to be sure is to do this process of at least three readings each night for at least one week. The longer you do it, the more familiar with your body you become. Then relay this information to your doctor and they will be able to work with you to correct these morning highs.


Mayo Clinic
Medical News Today

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Diabetes Complications

Diabetes is one of the deadliest diseases when left uncontrolled. While diabetes is not a direct cause of death, an uncontrolled diabetes diagnosis can lead to many complications that can lead to death. Diabetes affects your immune system, your blood circulation, your kidneys, and more. Here are some complications that uncontrolled diabetes can lead to.

  • Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes can dramatically increase the risk of cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease (angina), cardiac arrest (heart attack), stroke, and the narrowing of the arteries affecting blood circulation.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy): Excess sugar in your blood can injure the walls of tiny blood vessels (capillaries), especially in your legs. This leads to tingling, numbness, burning, or pain in the limbs (mostly the feet). Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling and your limb might need to be amputated.
  • Foot damage: Nerve damage or poor blood flow can increase the risk of foot complications. Untreated cuts and blisters can develop infections that often heal poorly. This may require toe, foot, or even leg amputation.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy): The kidneys filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage the filtering system by overworking it as the kidneys try to filter all the excess sugar from your blood. This can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage (retinopathy): Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your retina. Excess sugar in your blood vessels can injure the walls and cause the blood vessels to burst. It can also cause blindness and increase the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Skin conditions: Diabetes may leave you susceptible to skin problems if you have open wounds. Open wounds for diabetics tend to heal slower than non-diabetics leaving you vulnerable to bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Hearing impairment is more common in people with diabetes.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Diabetes increases the risk of dementia. The poorer the control of your blood sugar, the greater risk you have of contracting dementia.
  • Depression: Common amongst Type 1 and 2 diabetics, depression can affect diabetes management.
  • Ketoacidosis and ketones: This can lead to a diabetic coma. This is caused when your cells don’t get the glucose needed for energy so the body burns fat for energy, this produces ketones. Ketones are chemicals used to break down the fat for energy. When there is not enough insulin to use glucose for energy the ketones go to work, however, this leads to a build-up of ketones in the blood making it more acidic. High levels of ketones can become poisonous to your body and lead to ketoacidosis. The goal is to burn fat, but not as your main source of energy otherwise you’ll have high levels of glucose and ketones in your blood reacting with each other.
  • High blood pressure: A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80, prehypertension is 120/80 to 140/90, high blood pressure is above 140/90. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your blood vessels increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.

This is a list of just some of the complications that diabetes can lead to when your diabetes is left uncontrolled. The goal for diabetics is to keep your blood sugar under control and get your A1C to a reasonable number (as determined by your doctor). If you can do that, you can keep from these very serious complications. Who knows, maybe you could even reverse your diabetes?


Mayo Clinic

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Diabetes Myths & Misconceptions

Here are some myths about diabetes that you may have heard. If anyone ever confronts you with these, just inform them of what diabetes really is. If you have any more questions about diabetes, feel free to contact me and I’ll get them answered.

Diabetes isn’t that serious.

In 2018, 34.2 million, about 10.2%, of the population in the U.S. have diabetes. The 1.5 million new cases in 2018 were aged 18 years and older. Approximately 210,000 were aged 20 years and younger; about 6,000 were children and adolescents, aged 10 to 19, were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In 2017, diabetes was the #7 leading cause of deaths in the U.S., about 83,500 death certificates listed diabetes as the underlying cause of death. In 2016, there were about 235,000 hospital visits were for hypoglycemia and about 224,000 were for hyperglycemia, with diabetes as the listed cause.

Being overweight causes diabetes. Thin people can’t get diabetes.

This isn’t necessarily true. There are many people who are overweight that aren’t diabetic and there are some “normal” people who are diabetic. Body size doesn’t determine whether or not you’re diabetic. There are many risk factors that may lead to diabetes, such as family history, age, and poor diet to name a few. Only about 80% of diabetics are overweight. Even if you don’t have a lot of visible fat, your body might have visceral (hidden) fat. The presence of visceral fat can be a factor that leads to diabetes.

Diabetes doesn’t run in my family, so I’m good.

Just because you don’t have diabetes in your family history, doesn’t mean you guaranteed won’t get diabetes. There are a lot of factors that lead to diabetes, not just family history. If you live a sedentary life and have a poor diet, you might just increase your chances of getting diagnosed with diabetes.

It’s okay to stop my medications once my blood sugar is under control.

Unless your doctor tells you you’re okay to stop your medication, don’t stop your medication on your own. Your doctor may want to come up with an alternative treatment plan before you stop your medication.

People with diabetes can’t eat sugar.

It’s not completely okay to stop intaking sugar especially if you have a history of hypoglycemic episodes or have Type 1 diabetes. You should definitely monitor how much sugar you take in and have a balanced diet. Sugar is necessary to fuel your body.

Diabetes is contagious.

Diabetes is a non-communicable illness, meaning it is not something that can be passed on to someone else. There’s no sneezing or coughing that can cause you to spread it. There are multiple risk factors that can help determine how at risk you are of getting it, but just because you hung out with your best friend who has diabetes, doesn’t mean you’re going to become diabetic from them.

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Beyond Type 2