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Frequently Asked Questions

Will eating too much sugar cause me to get diabetes?

Multiple factors can contribute to the onset of diabetes, including family history, inactivity, and being overweight. Eating too much sugar, in and of itself, does not cause diabetes. However, eating too much of any food can contribute to weight gain which, in turn, can increase your risk of becoming diabetic.

Do people with diabetes have to eat specific diabetic foods?

No. A diabetic diet includes the same ingredients as any other well-balanced diet. Good nutrition with diabetes is all about managing carbohydrate portions. Carbohydrates are the foods that convert to glucose in the bloodstream. If you eat too many carbohydrates your blood sugars may increase to unsafe levels. There are no “good” or “bad” foods … it’s the portion that makes a difference!

Why do my blood sugars seem to go up when I am sick or stressed?

Whenever your body is under any kind of stress, your blood sugars can rise. Stress can be emotional, such as a death in the family, or physical, such as having the flu. When a person is under stress, they may not be as careful about taking care of themselves either. They may forget to take their medication or eat the wrong foods. It is important to monitor your blood sugars more often when you are not feeling well and learn stress management skills to control your blood sugars during these stressful times.

Is it ok to eat sweets once in a while?

Yes. Sweets are carbohydrates just like fruit, rice, and milk. It is important to watch your portions just like any other carbohydrate you eat. Sweets tend to be high in fat and calories, as well. If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to limit these foods to improve weight loss.

Why is it important for me to watch my lipid levels?

When you have diabetes, the most common complication is heart disease. High cholesterol and high blood pressure contribute to heart disease. It is important to make sure your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure remain under control. Exercising, eating right, and keeping your weight at a healthy level all help decrease your risk of heart disease.

Why did my doctor tell me I have to go on insulin? I feel like I have been doing everything right!

You very well may be doing everything right. However, diabetes is a progressive disease. Sometimes, even with good intentions, you may require insulin to control your blood sugars. As you age, your body will produce less insulin. In time, oral medications may not provide enough help. Taking insulin might be the only way to get optimal control.

My doctor told me to test my blood sugar 2 hours after I eat. What will that tell me?

Testing two hours after your meal is a great way to see how the food has affected your blood sugars. It also helps the doctor know if your medication doses are set correctly. Generally, we would like your blood sugars to be <140 two hours after you eat. Recording this information for a few days allows you to look back and see if you need to make adjustments in your carbohydrate intake or your exercise regimen.

How do I exercise safely without getting low blood sugar?

Exercise lowers blood sugars. It is important to test your blood sugar before you exercise, especially if it has been more than two hours since your last meal. If your blood sugar is <100 you will need to eat a snack of 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate before you exercise (depending on the intensity of your workout). It is generally safest to exercise one to two hours after a meal to decrease the chance of having low blood sugar.

Will I necessarily have lots of health problems just because I have diabetes?

No. Good diabetes management can help decrease the chance of long-term complications from diabetes. High blood sugars left uncontrolled over time damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to the complications of diabetes. Keeping your blood sugars near normal will greatly reduce the risk of diabetes-related health problems in the future.

Are my children at risk for developing diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes does tend to run in families. However, research shows that making certain lifestyle changes can dramatically decrease the risk of developing diabetes. By losing 7 percent of the current body weight (if the individual is overweight) and increasing activity by 30 minutes five times per week, the risk of developing diabetes decreases by 60 percent over a five-year period.