Sugar Matters
September 28, 2007

Myths, facts about diabetes

Myth Number 5-”If you feel okay, your blood sugar doesn’t matter-FALSE!

This is one of those myths that I think people talk themselves into believing. But it is like saying that the pot on the fire isn’t really hot unless it boils over. One of the reasons high blood sugars can do so much damage is precisely that many people don’t feel that bad.{{more}} Now some people, especially those with Type 1 diabetes, do have very severe symptoms, including weight loss, peeing all the time, drinking lots of water, feeling exhausted, confusion, urine infections, belly pain etc. But many feel barely any different.

Diabetes, especially Type 2, does not often give big ugly symptoms like a heart attack. The most common symptom is actually just tiredness. Now who doesn’t feel tired from time to time (or in my case, everyday)? You can deal with some tiredness, some extra peeing at night, a little indigestion. So what if you feel a little thirsty? Who has time to deal with blood sugars if you feel okay? We have children to raise and mortgages to pay, so we need to just keep trucking along, unless something is REALLY making us sick, right? I understand that logic, but in this case I urge you to re-think it.

I can’t tell you how many times I saw people in my clinic with high blood sugars, and I say “we need to get these down soon,” then they say in return “but Doc I really don’t feel that bad.” And I sigh and tell them exactly what I am saying here: Diabetes is hurting you more than you know, even if you can’t feel it. Why do you think most people with diabetes are actually diagnosed about 7 years after their blood sugar first became high? Because they felt okay. But in the meantime while they were going about their business, guess what – their good friend diabetes paid a visit and set up shop in their kidneys, in their eyes and their heart, in their nerves and blood vessels all over the body. Have you ever had a stopped-up sink and managed to take a look inside? Remember all that sludge and slime along the walls? That is what diabetes does to your heart and blood vessels, even without making you feel pain – at first. High blood pressure is called “the silent killer”, but I think diabetes is in that category also.

So yes, your high blood sugar DOES matter even if you feel fine. The funny thing is for those folks who insist they feel okay, they come back to me when their blood sugar is better and always say the same thing: “I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I got better.” So ask your doctor if you need to be checked for diabetes. And if you do have it, but are not paying attention, think again. Please don’t wait for the pot to boil over….

Until next time Vincies,

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group