Living with diabetes is a challenge that affects many people every day.
That challenge also brings about many common diabetes questions, most of which you can find the answers to in this diabetes FAQ.
Getting answers to your questions can ease the overwhelming feelings of stress and help you to take the proper steps to improve your health.
Here are 8 popular questions and answers you should know to successfully manage your diabetes.
1. Does a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Mean I Will Have to Go On Insulin?
Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take insulin injections.
Whether you require insulin depends on several factors, which include the timing of the diagnosis:
- Studies show that if Type 2 diabetes is treated early enough and blood sugar is controlled initially as well as over time, the pancreas is more likely to produce insulin over a longer period.
- However, a person living with Type 2 diabetes for over 15 years is less likely to make sufficient insulin.
- As a result, they will need to take insulin by pen, syringe, or pump.
2. Can I Reverse My Diabetes?
Unfortunately, you can’t reverse Type 2 diabetes by cutting out carbohydrates or losing weight.
However, you can control it:
- If you have prediabetes or have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, losing a great deal of weight can put your diabetes into remission.
- Keep in mind that gaining the weight back, aging, or the natural progression of diabetes can cause it to retrigger.
- According to JoJo Dantone, RD, CDE, a diabetes coordinator based in New Orleans, completely removing carbohydrates or restricting them is not healthy as you won’t receive essential nutrients.
- It’s also nearly impossible to restrict carbohydrates for any length of time.
3. Will Insulin Make Me Gain Weight?
We need insulin, whether used as a hormone in our bodies or as medication, to push glucose into cells for energy.
The job of insulin is to process calories.
For this reason, it can, but may not necessarily, cause weight gain:
- A great way to prevent weight gain is to use portion control and exercising to burn off extra calories.
- If your blood sugar was high before starting to take insulin, you may have been excreting calories into your urine instead of fuelling your body.
- This will stop once your blood sugar levels are under control.
- If you experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), you can treat it with 15 grams of carbohydrates.
4. How Can I Lose Weight?
Weight loss is essential, especially after a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
Losing weight elevates sensitivity to insulin, which allows cells to use the insulin your body produces more effectively.
A weight loss of 10-20 pounds can provide tons of benefits. These include:
- Improved blood sugar levels
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Improved blood pressure
- Possibly taking fewer medications or lowering doses
The best way to lose weight slowly and steadily is to change your lifestyle.
The pounds that you lose over time will be important in helping you live a long life.
5. What Does Leg Pain Mean?
If you find that you have leg pain when you start walking but it stops when you sit down, you have signs of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
According to Albuquerque-based nurse practitioner Marjorie Cypress, Ph.D., CNP, CDE, and president of Healthcare and education for the American Diabetes Association, peripheral arterial disease develops when too much plaque limits blood flow to the legs.
“The pain may occur while you walk because muscles need increased blood flow. The pain may stop when you sit because your muscles then require less blood flow.”
Peripheral arterial disease also increases the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and foot ulcers.
To lower your risk of PAD, Cypress suggests the same advice you follow to stay healthy while living with diabetes.
6. How Often Should I Replace My Blood Glucose Meter?
The only time you need to replace your meter is if the one you have doesn’t work properly with your strips.
To determine if your meter is working, use the control solution that comes with your meter.
To use the control solution, simply:
- Put a drop (similar to the amount of blood you use) on a strip, and take a quick test.
- The vial your strips are stored in provides you with a glucose range where the result should fall.
- If your result is in the range provided, the meter and strips work correctly.
- If not, make sure to contact the manufacturer.
- They will provide advice and possibly offer a replacement meter for free.
Another suggestion from Janine Freeman, RDN, CDE, and member of the American Association of Diabetes Educators Board of Directors, is to clean and disinfect your meter at least once a week, when blood gets onto the meter, or before you let anyone else use it.
She also advises that you consider replacing your meter every five years due to innovation and changes.
7. Can I Delay or Prevent Complications From Diabetes?
Yes, studies have shown that the earlier you diagnose your diabetes and the sooner you start aggressively getting your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure in the appropriate target ranges, the healthier you can become over time.
In order to remain healthy and notice any complications early on, make sure that your healthcare provider knows of any potential issues or symptoms.
Complications from diabetes don’t need to occur in this day and age.
8. Will My Diabetes Ever Go Away?
Once you have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you have this illness for the rest of your life.
In order to remain healthy, make sure to keep your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure under control.
To keep your levels under control, it’s important to:
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Remain physically active
- and Take your medications as they have been prescribed
Also, make sure that you get all the tests and health checks you require in order to detect complications early and treat them aggressively.
Living with diabetes can be challenging for many people.
Getting answers to the questions you have is a great way to educate yourself on how to deal with your diabetes in the best way possible.
For more information, visit our full diabetes resource guide.