Diabetes can be transmitted through saliva

10 questions about diabetes mellitus

Dr. med. Jutta Karl
Specialist in General Medicine
Main street 119
56170 Bendorf
Telephone 02622 3542
Fax 02622 900268

Diabetes is contagious

Not correct. Although it is difficult to understand exactly why someone develops diabetic disease, one knows for sure that diabetes mellitus is not a contagious disease. It appears that genetic factors play a role in type 2 diabetes in particular. Personal circumstances also play a role.

People with diabetes mellitus are not allowed to eat sweets or chocolate at all

Not correct. In principle, there are no dietary restrictions for patients with diabetes mellitus - sweets and desserts are not generally prohibited either. However, there may be restrictions on the amount of sweets. Diabetics must ensure that their diet is compatible with the treatment of their diabetic disease determined by the doctor, for example through a diet.

Diabetes occurs when you eat too much sugar

Not correct. Diabetic diseases are caused by genetic factors and personal living conditions. However, consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity, which in turn is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. In particular, if you have a family history of diabetic diseases, it is advisable to prevent obesity through a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Diabetics should only consume special diabetic foods

Not correct. A healthy diet means the same thing for diabetics as it does for healthy people: it should consist of little fat, little salt and sugar, as well as plenty of whole grain products, vegetables and fruits. The diet should always be coordinated with the medical treatment of the diabetes. Special diabetic products do not necessarily have to be part of the diet - they also increase blood sugar, are usually more expensive and can have a laxative effect through the use of artificial sweeteners.

Diabetics should only eat small amounts of starchy foods

Not correct. Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans or corn are part of a healthy diet. Whole grain products contain a lot of fiber and thus contribute to better digestion. The quantity also plays a decisive role in foods containing starch or carbohydrates. For most diabetics, three to four servings a day are fine, but it is important that the doctor's dietary advice is followed.

Diabetics get colds or other illnesses more easily

Not correct. Having diabetes does not increase the risk of other diseases. However, diabetics are advised to get a flu vaccination. The reason is that infections can lead to changes in the blood sugar balance, which in turn can lead to hypoglycaemia or ketoacidosis.

Insulin causes arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure

Not correct. Insulin is not the cause of arteriosclerosis. Laboratory studies have found that insulin influences certain processes that are considered to be early forms of arteriosclerosis. But it has no direct effect on their creation. In any case, however, the harmful effect of excessively high blood sugar on the formation of deposits in the blood vessels, which in turn can lead to complications of diabetes, has been proven. The good control of diabetes mellitus with insulin therefore definitely helps to reduce the risks for the cardiovascular system.

Insulin causes weight gain and should therefore not be taken

Not correct. Insulin affects the uptake of blood sugar by the body's cells and can therefore lead to weight gain. However, international studies such as the UKPDS (United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study) and the DCCT (Diabetes Control & Complications Trial) have shown that the advantages of insulin for influencing blood sugar levels in diabetics far outweigh these disadvantages. Since insulin therapy should always be closely monitored by a doctor, the doctor can counteract excessive weight gain.

Fruit is healthy - therefore, as a diabetic, you can eat as much of it as you want

Not correct. Fruit is part of a healthy diet because it is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But sweet fruits are also high in carbohydrates. Therefore, the amount, frequency, and type of fruit must be considered in a diabetic nutrition plan or diet.

As long as the HbA1 value does not rise above 8, nothing needs to be changed in the treatment

Not correct. The better the blood sugar level is adjusted, the lower the risk of developing complications of diabetes mellitus. However, an HbA1c value of over seven is no longer a good setting, because the goal of diabetes therapy should be an Hba1C of under seven. The closer the HbA1c value is to the normal range (below 6%), the lower the risk of secondary diseases. As a diabetic, however, you have to make sure that the HbA1c value does not drop too low, as there is a risk of hypoglycaemia. Therefore, a personal target value should be set in consultation with the attending physician and its attainment should be checked regularly.