Sugar Matters
January 13, 2015
The advice you don’t want

Last week we talked about graciously accepting when others try to give you advice. Those “others” could be anyone from your medical team to your next door neighbour. Obviously the advice you get from your medical team is the one you should most consider, as it is most likely to be based on accepted standards in medicine and not hearsay. That’s not to say people in medicine are ALWAYS right or that your neighbour is ALWAYS basing advice on so-so information, but just a general trend. Your medical team includes your doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners,nutritionists and pharmacists.{{more}}

What I have found for patients with diabetes, however, is that the well meaning advice they receive from people outside of medicine can often be not quite right, or completely wrong. There are many misconceptions floating around about diabetes, Types 1 and 2, and it takes a well-read cautious person to stay ahead of some of the even dangerous mis-information that can catch your ear. Here are some of the advice/information pieces I have had patients share with me after they were told these by someone else:

1) You should not be eating XYZ. While it is true that there are several types of foods, including sodas, that do you no good when you have diabetes, there in fact is no food that you CANNOT EAT. There are foods you should not eat much of at all, including drinking sodas and eating cake icing. But the old idea that people with diabetes could NOT eat something is wrong. You, in truth, CAN eat anything; it is a matter of whether you SHOULD and how much of it can you eat without making your sugars go through the roof (and thus hurt yourself).

2) If you change XYZ your Type 1 diabetes will go away. Well, no it won’t. There is nothing an individual person can do to cure his or her Type 1 diabetes once it occurs. You can do things that change how much insulin you need; for example, exercise or eating less starches. But you cannot change a behaviour, a belief or take an herb to cure Type 1 diabetes. Trying that can be very, very dangerous.

3) If you have a low blood sugar, you should stop taking all your medicine. Well, again, no. What you SHOULD do is contact your medical team, your nurse or doctor, right away to figure out what to do. In some cases you may have to stop taking your medicine for a short while, but in most cases you need LESS of the medicine, or to change when you take it. Not to stop taking it entirely. Another dangerous idea.

In general, I encourage you to read up on diabetes to educate yourself, ask many questions when you go to clinic, so you can learn from your medical team, and be cautious with what you read in non-medical magazines. Your health is not something to play with, so be sure to make changes to your general care and medications only based on the best medical advice you can find.When you are offered advice that you don’t want, again be gracious and just keep moving along.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227