Diabetes Frequently Asked QuestionsYesterday I was on the train and I thought it would be great to have one page where the most commonly asked questions about diabetes are gathered. If you have the time and energy you can find many questions and answers on whatever topic, for example, in Yahoo Answers. However, since each question is on a different page, it takes lots of time and effort to find the answers to all your questions. That’s why I thought a single place with the most common questions and answers related to diabetes might be very helpful.

I know by experience that after having been diagnosed with diabetes, a lot of questions and doubts come to your mind. To answer my questions I researched many books, internet pages, asked allopathic and naturopathic doctors, consulted alternative practitioners… And, what’s more important, I learnt from experience.

So, in order to save you lots of hours of research, I’ll list the most common questions that come to my mind and update the list as more questions or doubts come up.

If you have any questions about diabetes, please send them to me (either by leaving a comment below or via email) and I’ll do my best to answer them or search appropriate answers.

If you think this list can be useful to other people as well, don’t forget to share it (see on the left side Facebook, Twitter & Co…).

Maybe instead of a question you want to know the meaning of a certain term related to diabetes. In this case, you can visit the page I prepared with the definitions of the most common diabetes terms.

FAQ about Diabetes

 

– How do you get diabetes?

To answer this question we should differenciate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. With most type 1 diabetics you could say that you “get diabetes”. With most type 2 diabetics some physicians and alternative practitioners are now affirming that you don’t “get diabetes” but you “do diabetes”, in the way that you are creating this condition with your lifestyle.
This question is very similar to the question “what are the causes of diabetes?”. Since I already wrote an article with 23 possible causes of diabetes (both for type-1 and type-2), I’d encourage you to read them there.

 

– How to avoid diabetes?

For insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1), in reference to the different possible causes mentioned in the link above you could:

  • think about not giving cow milk to infants
  • breast-feed at least 6-9 months to improve and strengthen your kid’s immune system
  • avoid stress or manage it in a healthy way
  • inform yourself well before injecting some vaccines to your kids
  • get enough vitamin-D (either from the sun or via vitamins)
  • check and maybe avoid the medicines that can affect negatively to the pancreas beta cells
  • check out if you or your kid has gluten intolerance (celiac disease) and start a gluten-free diet inmediately

For adult-onset diabetics (type 2) you reduce your chances to get diabetes by:

  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, legums, whole cereals/rice/pasta.. instead of refined flours (white bread/pasta/cereals), avoid or limit sugars and soda drinks…
  • drinking enough water every day
  • avoiding or managing stress
  • quit smoking
  • sleeping well and enough
  • and some of the points mentioned for type 1.

 

– What are the symptoms of diabetes?

I already answered this question on this page.

 

– Can diabetes be cured or reversed?

Diabetes Frequently Asked QuestionsWell, that’s a tricky question. The official answer for that question is no. But again, it depends on which type of diabetes you’ve got.

Allopathic medicine considers this disease incurable. Only recently some research studies have started to affirm that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle condition, and therefore can be reversed by changing to healthier habits (in diet and exercise especially). Naturopathics and alternative practitioners have been defending that idea for many years now, even without starving yourself.

The question is, what do we mean by using the word “cure”?  If you mean being able to go back to your unhealthy habits hopping to live without health problems again, the only possibility that I see is stem-cell transplant (not working in 100% of the cases and you should eat healthier as well, but not that limited). If you mean living a healthier life without drugs and being able to accomplish lots of things without feeling pain or the negative consequences of diabetes, then you could say that “cure” or “reverse” are possible (again, this applies more to type 2 diabetes).

What about type 1 diabetics? There have been cases where people has “reversed” or taken their disease to a state where they don’t need insulin anymore, or at least for some years. But the price you must pay for that is sometimes very high. During my 13 years of research, I’ve stumbled upon and tried different therapies or treatments that helped some individuals to live without insulin, most of them with a very strict diet. So, it’s not impossible, but it requires lots of self-discipline, dettachment and self-confidence (if you want to keep your social activities, going out, eat at others’ places…)

Another possibility to “cure” diabetes is with stem cell therapy. In the last 10-15 years there have been several clinical studies where researchers had success eliminating the need for insulin for 3-4 years in people with type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately they didn’t get more funds and had to stop trials. A current research team that is achieving great results to fight type 1 diabetes is Dr. Faustman and her Laboratory team (you can help making a donation, since they still need $15 million to continue with studies and trials)

 

– How does diabetes affect the eyes?

The most common problems with the eyes in people with diabetes are: diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataract. If not treated they can lead to blindness. Studies have shown that high blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol increase the probability of those eye conditions.

Here you can find a good source about this topic.

 

– How does diabetes affect the body?

Since diabetes affects blood vessels and nerves it can actually affect any part of the body. But certain parts of the body are affected more than others:

Heart: diabetes contributes to high blood pressure and is linked with high cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) which significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, strokes.

Eyes: high blood pressure and high blood sugar are a contributing factor for diabetic retinopathy, caused by blood vessels in the back of the eye (the retina) swelling and leaking. This could lead to visual loss or blindness.

Kidneys: poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol can cause diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), leading to kidney transplant or dialysis if not controlled and/or treated.

Nerves: nerve damage (neuropathy) can be noticed as numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, excessive sweating or lack of sex arousal (erectile dysfunction in men).

Digestion: nerve damage caused by diabetes can lead to nausea, constipation or diarrhoea.

Skin: dry skin, slow healing of cuts, burns and wounds, fungal and bacterial infections and diabetic foot (loss of feeling in the foot). In extreme cases, amputation might be recommended by doctors..

Immune system: increased risk for infections due to immune system suppression.

 

– How does diabetes affect the kidneys?

Diabetes health is in your handsHigh blood sugar levels make the kidneys filter too much blood (nephropathy). This extra effort is hard on the filters that remove the waste products from digested protein. If not controlled, after some years those filters start to leak and useful protein is lost in the urine. When you have small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria. When kidney disease is diagnosed early in the process, several treatments may prevent kidney disease from getting worse.

When you have larger amounts of protein in the urine it’s called macroalbuminuria. When kidney disease is diagnosed later (macroalbuminuria), End-Stage Renal Disease, or ESRD, usually follows.

The stress of overwork causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Then, waste products start to build up in the blood. If not treated on time, the kidneys fail causing End-Stage Renal Disease, when the person needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by machine (dialysis).

The better a person keeps diabetes and blood pressure under control, the lower the chance of getting kidney disease.

For more information about diabetes and kidney disease visit this site.

 

– Does diabetes cause hair loss?

If high blood sugar is causing circulation problems, the capillaries that supply blood to the hair follicles may die, leading to hair loss. Hyperglycemia can also disrupt the endocrine system, leading to androgen abnormalities that can cause the hair follicles to go dormant and lead to widespread hair loss.

So the best way to prevent hair loss is to maintain good blood sugar levels.

 

– Does diabetes cause weight gain?

This is the typical question about what comes first: the chicken or the egg. The most common point of view is that diabetes can be caused by obessity or weight gain. A second point of view has recently appeared where it is stated that diabetes (or insulin resistance) causes weight gain (especially in type 2 diabetics).

The reasoning behind this view is this: people with insulin resistance can’t use insulin properly and therefore this excess of insulin is stored as fat in the body. Insulin is usually seen as the key to enter sugar into the cells. But one of its other functions is to store fat. So, if your cells are not getting the insulin due to insulin resistance, sugar accumulates in the blood. The pancreas “thinks” that the body needs more insulin to take that sugar into the cells. This excess of insulin will be stored as fat.

Excess insulin can also make you feel hungrier and signal the body to store more calories as fat.

Avoiding “simple” carbohydrate foods (foods that are high in refined flour and sugar) can reduce the amount of insulin your body needs to manufacture, thus stopping your body from putting on more weight.

 

– Does diabetes make you tired?

Yes, especially if your blood sugar levels are not under control, hyperglycemia usually makes you feel tired and without energy. When you experience high sugar levels your cells are not getting the energy they need to do their job. The lack of insulin to help cells get the energy (sugar) cause cells to “starve”, thus making you feel tired.

 

– What causes gestational diabetes?

Between 2-10 % of expectant mothers develop gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can make cells less responsive to insulin, therefore the pancreas will try to produce even more insulin. If your pancreas can’t keep up with the increased insulin demand during pregnancy, your blood glucose levels can rise too high, resulting in gestational diabetes.

The good thing is that for most women with this condition while pregnant don’t remain diabetic after the baby is born. If you have had gestational diabetes, though, you’re at higher risk for getting it again during a future pregnancy and for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. In that case, a lifestyle change will be needed to get your levels back to normal.

 

– What is pre diabetes?

If blood sugar levels are between 110-126 mg/dl fasting (at least 8 hours) or between 140-200 not fasting, that’s called impaired glucose tolerance and is considered prediabetes. That is, your levels are not high enough to be considered diabetes, but you would be at risk of developing it if not acted upon.

The problem though, is that there are usually no clear symptoms, so you could spend months or years in that borderline situation without noticing and therefore not being able to do something about it.

People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as the serious medical problems associated with it, such as heart disease  and stroke (50% higher risk than someone who does not have prediabetes).

If you want to determine if you have prediabetes, there are three different blood tests that your doctos can perform: the Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) test, the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) or the Hemoglobin A1C (or average blood sugar of the last 2-3 months) test.

 

– Why does exercise help diabetes?

I already posted a full article about this topic. You can read it here.

 

– When should I get tested for diabetes?

If you feel that something is going wrong with your health lately and you think that you are experiencing any or some of these symptoms, it would be wise to visit a doctor (either allopathic or naturopathic, according to your preferences). He/she might check right there if you could have diabetes. But probably, you’ll be asked to come back another day in the morning after 8-9 hours fasting. They’ll take some blood and maybe urine as well in order to test the Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which measures the average amount of sugar in your blood over a period of 2-3 months.

 

– Who is at risk of diabetes?

  • overweight persons
  • sedentary or inactive people
  • older people
  • family history (parent, brother or sister) with diabetes
  • people with high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg or above)
  • people with “good” cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) below 35 mg/dL
  • people with triglyceride level above 250 mg/dL
  • women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or who had gestational diabetes
  • people with history of cardiovascular disease
  • some backgrounds are more prone to develop diabetes: Hispanic/Latino, Alaska native, African American, Pacific Islander, American Indian or Asian American
  • people with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • people following a poor diet based on fast foods, sugary drinks, refined cereals and flour, sweets…

Maybe having just one of these symptoms it’s not enough to trigger the disease, but when a combination of them occur, the probabilities are much higher.

 

– Is diabetes hereditary?

No. You can inherit the predisposition to have diabetes, but some factors need to come into place to trigger the disease. This means, that if you avoid those factors you can be healthy although you have a predisposing factor to diabetes.

It’s estimated that 80% of those diagnosed with diabetes each year have at least one family member who has already this disease, although 90% of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have no family member or relative with the disease. The probabilities are much higher with type 2 diabetes.

The best way to avoid diabetes, even if you have it in your genes, is to follow a healthy lifestyle with a correct diet and regular exercise.

 

I hope I’ve answered some of the questions you might have concerning diabetes in this post. But please, if you have a different question on this topic, please write it below these lines in the comments section and I’ll do my best to research and provide an answer for you.

Don’t forget to share this article with your friends or relatives if you liked it, so that they can be informed as well.

3 Comments on Most Frequently Asked Questions about Diabetes

  1. D. Jones says:

    My husband is on day 20 of the 30 Day Cure by Dr. Ripich and just 3 days ago began experiencing a jittery feeling. Do you have any suggestions on what he can do to alleviate this odd discomfort?

  2. sumi islam says:

    Don’t forget to share this article with your friends or relatives if you liked it, so that they can be informed as well.

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