5 Biggest Diabetes Management Mistakes

Over seven years and millions of interactions on Diabetes Daily, we have seen many people make the same mistakes. Here are five of the most common ones along with potential solutions.

What mistakes are missing from the list? Share your experience in the comments and help spare your peers some difficult days.

Mistake #1: Thinking Only Food Impacts Blood Sugars

Carbohydrates, and to a lesser extent fat and protein, impact blood sugars. But food is just one of many factors.

  • Stress – whether it is caused by pain, a fight with a loved one, or intense exercise – increases blood sugars.
  • Activity typically lowers blood sugars, but many forms of exercise can also raise your blood sugar, such as strength-training and sprinting. Exercise that is causing negative stress on your body can also raise your blood sugar. Little known fact: if a 20 minute, pain-free walk regularly increases blood sugars and you haven’t eaten recently, call your doctor and ask for a stress test. This can be an early sign of heart disease. Something is causing that stress.
  • Sleep patterns can change your insulin sensitivity throughout the day. Not getting enough sleep can make you more insulin resistant and lead to higher blood sugars.
  • Hormonal changes can cause your blood sugars to rise and fall. These hormones could be from things like increased stress, growth-hormones, menstruation, and menopause.

As you learn about why your blood sugars change, it is critical to look at factors beyond food.

Mistake #2:  Guessing Your Blood Sugars

People are horrible at guessing their own blood sugars. The key problem is that the symptoms of high and low blood sugars are not always consistent. Are you sweating and hungry because of a low blood sugar or because it’s 90 degrees out and you skipped breakfast? Are you irritable because of high blood sugars or a friend said something that’s irritating? The symptoms of a low on an exercise bike could feel very different than the symptoms you experience when you’re watching TV. If you want to know for sure what’s going on in your body, use a blood glucose meter to test strategically. (See  Blood Sugar Testing 101: Why, When and What to Do.)

Mistake #3: Guessing Carb Counts

It is extremely difficult to guess how many carbohydrates are in portions of food. Studies have shown that we are lucky to be within 50% of the right answer. So it’s important to read labels and measure out foods until you get better at predicting how it will impact your blood sugars. This is especially true of foods that have hidden carbs. For example, many sauces are thickened with simple carbohydrates like corn starch. Even though it’s simply drizzled on your plate, that doesn’t mean there can’t be 15 grams of sugar in the sauce.

Mistake #4: Not Taking Responsibility for Your Own Success

Your medical team is important, but they can’t be there to make your decisions for you. You spend 99.99% of your time on your own. So take ownership of your diabetes. Learn what causes your blood sugars to change. Understand how your diet, medication, and activities fit together. Make sure that you are pushing your medical team rather than expecting them to push you. At the end of the day, this is your life to live.

Mistake #5: Embracing Extremes: Perfection or Failure

Diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. Pushing too hard for perfection leads to burnout. Giving up altogether leads to certain disaster. Find a middle path: seek to improve your management processes, do the best that you can, and forgive yourself for being human. Nobody’s perfect.

What other mistakes should we put on the list?

Article Credit: Diabetes Daily

Photo Credit: SiamEye


Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Pass Out!

Well, it looks like all is more or less ok. She had me explain how I fell, when I realized I was falling, etc. And she came to the conclusion that I am not going unconscious I am falling asleep due to the fact that I cannot sleep much anymore. Hubby chuckled since he told me that all along. I hit him on the arm but he still chuckled.  MRI’s showed damage in the mid spine but not as bad as L4 and 5 which are the ones with the herniated discs from the accident.

So that is some worse than it was with more damage showing on the lower spine. The shoulder that hurts so bad just looks maarrrrrrvelous as Billy Crystal would say. I said I am putting up with all of this pain and it looks great? She laughed and said yes. So I must have pulled a tendon or something and it’s not getting better. The knee has a lot of bad arthritis showing and needs an injection from an orthopedic surgeon. Here we go again to yet another dr. And she wrote a prescription for 6 weeks, twice a week of traction at a local sports therapy clinic here on the beach.

And I thought I could take a break for awhile. But if it will relieve this interminable pain for just a bit, that will help. And traction felt pretty darned good 11 years ago when it happened. I hope it still does. I go back to her in six weeks after the therapy. She also wants me to do a sleep study. I said “I have RLS, I can’t do a sleep study and stay down.” She said, “well that’s the way they find RLS”. I said “We already know I have it” and looked at her like huh? She smiled and said, “so you want to postpone it?” I said, “Let’s do that.” ROFL.

Okay…that is the news from the skinny island in the turquoise Gulf.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging - Human brain side view

Magnetic Resonance Imaging – Human brain side view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It’s Off to See The Wizard!”

Anticipaaaa-shun… Yep it’s time this afternoon to head to the neurologist for the results of the MRI’s and the x-rays. It’s been a little scary and touchy around here for the past few days. The four falls were extended to five over the weekend.Picture a hubby softly snoring in his chair in front of the tv and Perils of Pauline lying on the floor reaching up and tapping his arm and when he jumps awake…”Hey there, have you got a few minutes to help a dame up?” 🙂

Follow that up with a messed up prescription night before last when I evidently got up in the middle of the night and took the evening meds way too late, then took the morning meds a few hours later which was too close and slept the day away. I’ve also been dealing with loss of equilibrium and spasms in the legs and arms that seem to come from nowhere. She should be the dr. for that too. Boy there are a couple of jokes that my Dad used to tell that would make a sailor blush that would fit here but don’t hold your breath ’cause I’m too nice to tell ’em.” 🙂

So today is not only MRI day but a serious talk with the neurologist about what can be causing it. I have named the back injury and then a pill I take to help me sleep those two or three restful hours a night I get and on down to the uncontrolled diabetes. None fit.. By the way… the heavier doses of insulin he prescribed are helping a ton on the high sugar numbers. *Boy Howdy, a success at something!”* 🙂 Okay, I am outta here. Film at 11. ( or 6 or 8 or…whenever I get back and get online.)Later,


MRI scan with hippocampus indicated