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What Are Common Diabetes Contraindications?

By Marlene de Wilde
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the more common diabetes contraindications are foods high in sugar and saturated and trans fats as well as certain types of exercise. The most important goal of diabetes management is keeping of blood sugar levels within a certain acceptable range, so a knowledge of diabetes contraindications is essential, especially in terms of diet. Hypoglycemia, which is when the blood sugar levels are too low to support the body's needs for energy, can occur if meals are inconsistent, too much medication has been taken, exercise has been too strenuous, food and insulin amounts are non-compatible and if too much alcohol has been imbibed. These are all common diabetes contraindications.

A contraindication is a condition, characteristic or symptom that negatively or dangerously affects a drug or treatment regime. For example, many medications have contraindications with others so they cannot be taken concurrently. Diabetes sufferers can effectively control their condition if lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet are carefully controlled and health care professionals have full knowledge of the condition when prescribing medication.

The most important diabetes contraindications when it comes to diet are sugar and fats. In the past, it was thought that diabetics should avoid sugar completely, but the more modern approach is that it is not so much what is consumed that is the problem, but rather how much and when. Sugar intake should be controlled but so should carbohydrates. Meals should be regular and well-balanced with about the same amount of carbohydrates as these are important in the regulation of blood sugar levels. Portion sizes are also very important.

Regular exercise improves the body's response to insulin and lowers blood glucose levels, which reduces the likelihood of complications arising from diabetes. However, there is a problem if the level is too low which may occur if the exercise routine is too strenuous or if insulin or medication have been taken to lower the blood sugar level at a time inconsistent with a workout. An awareness of exercise as a diabetes contraindication will result in a well-planned, appropriate exercise plan that benefits rather than harms.

Medications must always be taken with diabetes in mind. While doctors are aware of diabetes contraindications, even the purchasing over-the-counter drugs may be a problem. Pharmacists should always be informed of the condition in this case. Illness may also affect the efficacy of medications and so an adjustment in dosages may be required. Alcohol can lower blood sugar levels and aggravate complications arising from diabetes so care should always be taken. If the diabetes is under control and medical approval has been granted, then an occasional drink should not be a problem, but otherwise alcohol is a diabetes contraindication that should be avoided.

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Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Jan 21, 2014

Walking is always a good exercise for a diabetic. You don't have to worry too much about your blood sugar bottoming out and you still get the benefits of exercise. This is especially true for recently diagnosed diabetics.

If you eat to your meter -- that is, check your levels after eating to make sure they stay within what your doctor recommends, you will have much less trouble staying on your diet.

Avoid tight shoes and tight clothing in general. Tight shoes can cause all sorts of problems for diabetic feet, and I would personally say women should avoid really high heels, since these can cause problems for "normal" women.

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