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I am diabetic but I just cannot stand the pain of pricking my finger so I do not check my blood sugar at home as I should. Is there any other less painful way to monitor blood sugar without pricking my finger several times a day?

I know it can be very difficult to prick your finger, but it’s crucial to check your blood glucose (sugar) as your healthcare providers recommend. One tip is to make sure that when testing on your finger, use only the sides of the finger; not on the pad of the finger. Talk to your health care provider to see if they can offer some other tips that might result in a less painful diabetes blood glucose test.

Is Metformin the best medication recommended for diabetics?

Taking the medicine metformin has also been shown to help lower the chance of getting type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that metformin for the prevention of type 2 diabetes works for both men and women, was most effective in younger people (ages 25-44) and heavier people (body mass index or BMI greater than 35), and in women with a history of gestational diabetes.

If you have prediabetes, ask your doctor if you should take metformin, in addition to lifestyle changes, to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Is Splenda better than sugar?

To reduce calories, which can contribute to weight gain, people with diabetes are encouraged to cut back on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages like regular soda, fruit drinks. Here is a list of artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

How does starch affect blood sugars? Are carrots considered a starch?

Starchy foods, such as bread, pasta, rice, and cereal, provide carbohydrates, the body’s energy source. Fruit, milk, yogurt, and desserts contain carbohydrates as well. Everyone needs some carbohydrates in their diet, even people with diabetes. The key is knowing how much to eat to help manage your blood glucose (sugar) levels and keep you at a healthy weight.

When it comes to vegetables, there are two main types of vegetables—starchy and non-starchy. Carrots are considered a non-starchy vegetable and are a great source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. Here is a link to where you can learn more about making healthy food choices.

I have lupus and I started a plant-based diet. Is that good?

It is important to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet that can include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and moderate amounts of meats, poultry, and fish. You might wish to contact the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse at (877) 22-NIAMS (226-4267) to learn more about lupus and nutrition.

Dr. Rogers, can you address please statin-induced diabetes?

Perhaps you’re thinking of this paper ( from the NIH-funded Diabetes Prevention Program. With all medications, it’s important to talk to your health care provider to understand the benefits and risks.

Can you explain the effects of hypoglycemia and diabetes?

Hypoglycemia, also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar, occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal. For many people with diabetes, that means a level of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less. Your numbers might be different, so check with your health care provider to find out what level is too low for you.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to recognize signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia, which can include feeling shaky or jittery, sweaty, hungry, dizzy, or lightheaded, confused or disoriented. If you begin to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia, check your blood glucose. If your blood glucose level is below your target or less than 70, eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates right away. Here is a link to more detailed information you might find helpful.

What about switching to a plant-based diet as discussed in ‘What the Health?’

You should talk to your health care team about how you can manage your diabetes and meet your nutritional and health goals. In most cases, nutrition recommendations for people with diabetes are similar to recommendations for healthy eating for all adults, such as choosing foods that are lower in calories, fat, sugar, and salt, choosing foods such as fruits, vegetables, low-fat or skim milk and cheese, and eating food with more fiber. NIDDK has many great resources to help people manage their weight.

I hear the doctor saying lose weight to prevent. What are the chances of skinny people becoming diabetic?

Weight is just one of the risk factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes. Genetics also play an important role in the development of diabetes. For instance, if you are at a normal weight and your mother, father, brother or sister have diabetes, you are at increased risk for developing diabetes based on your family’s health history.

There are other risk factors, such as age, race and ethnicity that increase a person’s chances for developing diabetes. The good news is that, for type 2 diabetes, research has shown that risk factors linked to lifestyle, such as being more physically active and maintaining a healthy weight – things that we can change – can help lower a person’s risk for developing the disease. Here is information to learn more.

My son (17) and I (50 type 2) don’t drink soda. PowerAde water and unsweetened iced tea with Splenda. Are there any healthy liquids I can add to my diet?

A: Sounds like you and your son are taking important steps to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages, which contribute to unnecessary calories. Water is always a great option. I like to add a slice of lemon in my water to give it a little bit of flavor.

 Can Intermittent fasting prevents and possibly cure diabetes?

The health effects of fasting are an ongoing area of research, but without talking with your health care team, I would not advise anyone spend long periods without food – and certainly not anyone with diabetes, as it can be very dangerous and even fatal.

How does alcohol consumption affect diabetics?

Drinking alcohol can cause a drop in blood glucose (sugar) levels because alcohol blocks the production of glucose in the liver. (The liver contains “emergency stores” of glucose to raise your blood sugar if it drops too low.) Once the liver’s stores of glucose are used up, a person who has drank a lot of alcohol can’t make more right away, and that can lead to dangerously low blood glucose or even death. Also, if you are taking other medications, drinking too much alcohol can cause other problems, including damage to your liver. If you have any questions about whether alcohol is safe for you, check with your doctor.

 What is the difference between Type 1& 2 diabetes?

A: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the two main types of diabetes. Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose.

People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive. It used to be called juvenile diabetes, but people can develop it as adults as well.

People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but you can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes does occur most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

Both types of diabetes can lead to chronically high blood glucose levels. That increases the risk of diabetes-related health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems and amputations. To learn more, visit

If you are pre-diabetic, should you go ahead and get on medicine if your A1C continues to be in the range of 6.1 and 6.3 for a year or continue to work out and change eating habits?

If you have prediabetes, you should have a conversation with your doctor to see if you should take metformin, in addition to lifestyle changes, to prevent type 2 diabetes.

What if you got diabetes from Lipitor and meds are not working?

You should talk with your doctor about your treatment and any concerns you have.

If you have diabetes, can you get rid of it?

There is no cure for diabetes right now, and NIDDK continues to support research to help find a cure. Right now, once you have diabetes, it never goes away. Some people with type 2 diabetes who are overweight when they are diagnosed might lose weight by changing their eating habits and being more physically active.

This can help their blood glucose return to normal, but that does not mean that their diabetes has disappeared. Usually, over time, people with type 2 who are able to manage their diabetes through lifestyle changes may need to add medications to help them manage their blood glucose.

Are there any over-the-counter medicines for the nerve pains associated with diabetes?

There are several medications that are useful for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and have been approved by the FDA, but please talk with your health care provider to see what’s best for you. The first treatment step is to bring blood glucose levels within the normal range to help prevent further nerve damage. Blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, physical activity, and diabetes medicines or insulin will help control blood glucose levels. Here is some information about diabetic neuropathy that you might find helpful.

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