There are many misleading myths surrounding diabetes. Unfortunately for me, I took some of these myths at face value and believed them to be true. Coming across this article really helped me to separate fact from fiction about this disease, which affects millions around the world. Here are 12 diabetes-related myths debunked:
Myth 1: Diabetes isn’t a serious disease.
Fact: Diabetes IS a serious, chronic disease, however its effects can be controlled if managed properly. Nevertheless, it still kills more people annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth 2: Diabetes is a death sentence.
Fact: This isn't true. The better diabetics take care of themselves, the longer they will live. Doctor’s recommendations with regard to diet and exercise should be followed closely, ensuring that medication is taken correctly.
Myth 3: You’ll get diabetes if you’re overweight or obese.
Fact: While weight is a risk factor for diabetes, there are other factors at play too, such as family history. Many overweight people never develop Type 2 diabetes. There are also many Type 2 diabetics with a normal weight.
Myth 4: You can’t do too much exercise if you have diabetes.
Fact: While it’s true that diabetics who take insulin or other medications that increase insulin production in the body have to balance exercise, insulin levels and diet, those who are taking oral medications such as metformin and sitagliptin can exercise as much as they like.
Myth 5: Insulin will do you harm.
Fact: Insulin is actually a lifesaver, but what makes it challenging is that many people find it difficult to manage. Taking insulin safely requires testing blood sugar levels many times a day to avoid harmful low blood sugar reactions.
Myth 6: Diabetes means you don’t produce enough insulin.
Fact: This is true for people with type 1 diabetes – their pancreas stops producing insulin completely. Those who have the more common type of diabetes, type 2, tend to have sufficient insulin when they’re first diagnosed. The main problem type 2 diabetics have is that their insulin doesn’t cause the cells in their bodies to absorb glucose from the food they eat. Their pancreases may also stop producing enough insulin with the passage of time, which means they’ll need injections.
Myth 7: Diabetes means you have to inject yourself.
Fact: Injections are only applicable to diabetics who are on injectable medications. These days, insulin pens that don’t require injections are available. Furthermore, drawing blood to measure blood sugar is painless thanks to the latest blood sugar meters. Many new diabetes medications can also be taken orally.
Myth 8: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The only shred of truth in this myth is that recent research has indicated those who were already at risk of developing diabetes increased their risk of developing it further by drinking lots of sugared drinks. Sugar in itself, doesn’t cause diabetes, however it does contribute to obesity, which is a major cause of the disease.
Myth 9: "I know exactly when my blood sugar is high or low."
Fact: This one is particularly dangerous, because some diabetics tend to rely on how they’re feeling as a gauge for whether their blood sugar levels are low. While certain symptoms are indicative of low blood sugar levels, they tend to become less accurate over time. The only sure-fire way of knowing whether they’re low or not is to actually check.
Myth 10: Diabetics cannot eat sweets.
Fact: Diabetics can eat whatever they want, as long as they pay attention to portion sizes and how often they’re eating their favorite treat - what they cannot do is eat too much of what they like. An example of this is having a smaller piece of cake than usual for dessert, and not having dessert as often.
Myth 11: Diabetes makes you more prone to colds or flu.
Fact: While diabetics are no more vulnerable to contagious illnesses than anyone else, getting flu shots is important, because diabetics are a lot more likely to suffer serious complications from the flu than those who do not have the disease.
Myth 12: Diabetics on insulin haven't taken care of themselves.
Fact: During the early stages of the disease, or just after diagnosis, insulin levels can be controlled adequately through eating a healthy diet, exercising and oral medications. As the disease progresses, your pancreas may begin to produce less insulin or stop producing insulin completely, which means that you’ll require insulin injections.
Content Source: Healthline