Diabetes is today a fast-growing disease and is affecting a large population of individuals all across the globe. The condition comes with a lot of complications and some of the adverse effects of contracting diabetes are the associated heart and kidney related disorders, amputations in different parts of the body, damage caused to the essential body nerves, blindness, diabetic eye, amongst a host of other complications.
It thus becomes very important to understand how the disease is caused: Insulin is one of the essential hormones that the pancreas of the human body is supposed to produce. This insulin, in turn, helps to breakdown the carbohydrates giving the much-needed energy for the smooth and efficient functioning of the body cells. Diabetes is caused when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or due to some reason, the body is unable to utilize the insulin so produced effectively.
There are two main types of diabetes affecting the population today: type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Since the disease is so complicated and leading a normal life becomes difficult once you have contracted the same, the general public tends to believe in a lot of myths and there are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes attached to diabetes.
From diabetes being a contagious disease to the complete non-inclusion of sweets and starch in your diet, the condition has a host of myths attached to it. These misconceptions are normally caused due to the lack of proper education and hysteria surrounding the disease. For the proper treatment of the disease, it is highly important that we get rid of all such myths and become aware of the facts associated with the condition.
We are doing exactly that in the following paragraphs: We will look into and try to debunk some of the myths associated with diabetes and understand the real facts instead. Understanding and educating oneself with the real facts related to diabetes is of primary importance because that helps in dealing with the condition effectively. Also, the correct knowledge will help a diabetic patient lead a normal and a healthy life. So, join in for the article ‘Diabetes and Myths: Learn About the 10 Myths Attached with Diabetes That You Should Know.’
Table of Contents
Facts About Diabetes
Before we debunk and burst some of the misconceptions associated with diabetes, let us look into some of the following facts:
- The disease has roughly affected 422 million people worldwide
- It is not contagious
- Once contracted, it is possible to lead a normal life by managing diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- While type 1 diabetes is called insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 is the non-insulin dependent form of diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes is more common and 90% of those affected with diabetes actually suffer from the type 2 form of the disease.
In the following paragraphs, we shall debunk some of the myths associated with the disease.
Top 10 Myths About Diabetes That You Should Know
Complicated as the disease is, there are a lot of myths which people believe to be true when it comes to diabetes. However, if you happen to believe and take all these myths seriously, you can go wrong in the way diabetes and other related conditions attached to it are to be treated. It is always advisable to talk to experts, experienced people, and certified dieticians and doctors while you arrive at a particular conclusion about diabetes and its related complications. Proper information and guidance will go a long way and help you in the treatment of the complicated condition.
Following are a few myths that you should be aware of and should try to avoid:
Myth # 1: Taking Medication is not at all Necessary When It Comes to Diabetes Treatment
Most of the patients suffering from diabetes find it extremely difficult to face the reality that he or she has been diagnosed with the disease as severe and complicated as diabetes. Hence, they avoid showing to the doctor and seek to wrongly believe that it is only the lifestyle through which they can control their condition. Medication does not play any part.
Besides, a few people believe in the advice of family and friends more than the experienced experts. In the process, the patients start taking treatments and natural supplements, medicines etc. which may not be helpful in treating their condition. An important thing to remember here is that the condition and the treatment of each patient is different from the other.
Myth # 2: Eating Too Much Sugar or Starch Causes Type 2 Diabetes
Most of the patients and laymen often tend to believe that if you do not eat too much sugar and if you avoid all the sweets which contain sugar, you will not develop type 2 diabetes. However, this is a myth and misconception that we should stop trusting in.
Although the true and main cause that leads to the onset of type 2 diabetes still remains a mystery, the experts know it for a fact that eating too much sugar is not the only thing causing the condition. We know that type 2 diabetes is caused when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or when the insulin produced is not able to function properly. Insulin, in turn, is responsible for the proper breakdown of carbohydrates. When the body has become resistant to this important hormone, the blood sugar level starts to rise to a great extent. The result is type 2 diabetes and its related complications.
Doctors believe that in order to remain healthy, one needs to maintain a proper diet, healthy lifestyle, and proper physical exercise.
Myth # 3: Only Overweight People Contract Diabetes. The Condition Cannot Affect Thin People
Most of us wrongly tend to believe that only people who are obese develop diabetes. Thin people cannot develop the condition. However, this is a complete myth and staying aloof from reality will only hinder the proper treatment of the disease.
Although it is true that when you are obese, you stand a greater chance of contracting type 2 diabetes, there are several other factors which contribute towards contracting the condition. These other factors include genetic causes, sedentary lifestyle, irregular eating habits, several heart-related diseases, cholesterol, high blood pressure or hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome, and high levels of triglyceride in the body. These factors also contribute towards developing type 2 diabetes and therefore even thin people are prone to getting diabetes.
In fact, one study conducted by experts have proven that people above 45 years of age stand a greater chance of contracting the condition and as such, they should regularly get their blood glucose levels checked.
Myth # 4: You will Develop Telltale Symptoms Which Will Let You Know When Your Blood Sugar Level Has Become Too High
When you are suffering from diabetes, you must keep on getting your blood sugar levels checked at regular intervals. This is of paramount importance as hypertension or high blood sugar level can hinder the proper treatment and care of the disease. However, a few patient’s belief that regular checkup is not at all necessary as high blood sugar will come with symptoms which will, by itself, signal the body about rising blood sugar or glucose level.
If experts are to be trusted, there are no symptoms which the body will show if the blood pressure has only risen mildly. There could be a few symptoms that might develop if the sugar level in the blood becomes too high. Some symptoms would include a greater level of tiredness, feeling thirsty or hungry at all times, the frequent need of going to the washroom and urinating, sores that take a lot of time to heal, and increased loss of weight. All these symptoms can easily be overlooked by the patients and as such, regular checkup of the blood sugar level becomes so important to deal with the complicated condition.
Myth # 5: If a Food is Free from Sugar, It Will Not Raise the Glucose Levels of a Diabetic Patient
It is a known fact that in order to deal with diabetes and its related complications efficiently, you first need to prevent your blood glucose and sugar level from rising. People adopt a lot of methods to achieve the same and one of the myths attached to the same is that if a food does not contain sugar, it is absolutely safe to consume it as it does not increase the blood sugar or glucose level in the body.
Very few people know the fact that it is not the sugar, but the carbohydrates in food that plays a larger role in increasing the level of blood glucose level in our body. As such, a diabetic patient has to be careful of the total intake of carbohydrates while chalking out a proper diet plan for himself or herself. That is solely the reason why the consumption of food and fruits such as banana, bagels, cereals, and a few fruit juices are restricted as these are known to contain a lot of carbohydrates. This is where a professional doctor and a dietician plays a bigger role and comes into picture while deciding on a healthy and an effective meal plan for his or her diabetes patient.
Myth # 6: Type 1 Diabetes is a More Serious and Complicated Disease Than Type 2 Diabetes
Most of the people wrongly believe that type 1 diabetes, which is usually contracted when you are young, is a more complicated disease as compared to type 2 diabetes. People believe that you have to be more controlled and cautious when you have contracted type 1 diabetes. However, the same is not true in the case of type 2 diabetes. However, this is not true and both the type of diabetes are extremely harmful and need an equal amount of care and precautions.
In fact, experts are of the opinion that if you do not maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet when you have been diagnosed with either type of diabetes, either of the disease types can lead to several complications including high blood pressure, heart and kidney related diseases, diabetic eye, blindness, infections in the gum, nerve damage, and even amputations in different parts of the body.
Myth # 7: You Should Limit Your Physical Activity Once You Have Been Diagnosed with Diabetes
Quite contrary to what the experts recommend, there is a popular myth amongst those suffering from diabetes that once diagnosed, the extent of physical activity should be reduced. Doctors are, however of the view that one of the factors contributing to diabetes is the lack of physical exercise. Once you know you have this condition, you should take time out to exercise regularly as it keeps the blood sugar level and the blood pressure in check. In fact, a lot of other complications which are known to come along with diabetes such as heart diseases, damage to the main nerves, amputations in different body parts are also controlled when you are regular into physical activity and exercising.
Having said that, you do need to take precautions while you are exercising. The same is important, especially when you are on medication or are taking regular insulin injections. In such a scenario, there is sometimes a decrease in the blood sugar level to a great extent causing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is not a favorable condition in diabetes and as such, several precautions should be taken while you are into exercising. A few simple steps such as keeping yourself hydrated at all times, not working out on an empty stomach, keeping a snack ready and handy while exercising should your blood sugar decrease considerably, and even checking the blood sugar level before and after the exercise will help you deal with the chronic condition effectively. Also, you will need to remember that each body functions differently and you will need to consult your medical expert before you decide on a particular workout regime that can give you the best benefits.
Myth # 8: People with Type 2 Diabetes Need Not Take Any Type of Insulin Injections
One of the common myths surrounding type 2 diabetes is the fact that most of the people believe that there is no need to take any type of insulin injections to control the condition. However, as we grow old and as the disease in the patients progresses, there is a growing need and one should take insulin injections. If you do not take it, the problem will get worse and it shall become really difficult to deal with the situation.
Most of the patients are of the view that type 2 diabetes can be controlled by exercising regularly, taking prescribed medicines, losing weight, and also by eating healthy. They do not consider taking insulin as an important part of dealing with the condition. Although the disease can be managed through the above methods, insulin injections often become necessary as it progresses. It only means that your disease is changing and you would need injections to manage it.
Myth # 9: Diabetes is a Contagious Disease
There is a stigma attached to the condition that the disease is contagious and as such people suffering from the condition are often left alone and are unable to mingle in the group. This can aggravate the condition of the patient. People should stop believing in this myth and understand the fact that the disease will not pass from one person to another through sneezing, touching, or by any other kind of physical contact. It is only passed on from the parents to the offspring due to genetic factors through blood and not by any other personal touch.
It is very important to get rid of this myth and stigma so that diabetes and its related complications are more acceptable in the society and the various complications related to the condition can be dealt with effectively to enable the patients to lead a healthy and normal life.
10. Myth # 10: People with Diabetes Have to Follow a Special Diabetic Diet
There is a common myth amongst all people that those suffering from diabetes have to strictly follow a special diet popularly called a diabetic diet. However, the same does not hold true and although it is necessary to follow a healthy and nutritious diet, there is nothing called a special diabetic diet. The healthy food which is prescribed for those suffering from the condition is very similar to the healthy food that is recommended for any other healthy person. The diet should contain a mixture of whole grains, fiber, low-fat dairy products, protein, and fruits and vegetables at the same time.In fact, experts are of the view that a diabetic patient can even include sweets and other snacks in their regular diet if they have worked out their plan properly and if the same has been certified by the experts and dieticians.
Having said that, if you are a patient who is suffering from diabetes, it is imperative that you follow a healthy diet and consume only the prescribed quantity of food which contains sugar, carbohydrates, and other nutrients and minerals.
Apart from the above, there are several other myths and misconceptions that are associated with diabetes and the related complications. One should be well educated about the disease and do not get perturbed by these myths as they hinder in the path of dealing and treating diabetes effectively.
Having read the above article, we hope that you are now aware of some of the myths associated with diabetes and the related complications. Remember that, as per a recent research conducted by experts, diabetes is today the seventh leading cause of death among men and women alike and hence it is all the more important to remain absolutely aware of the facts and remain aloof to the misconceptions.Apart from those mentioned above, other myths include: once you have contracted type 2 diabetes, you will continue living with it for the rest of your life, most patients will eventually need kidney dialysis, patients are sure to get their body parts amputated, patients are more likely to catch fever and several other illnesses.
It is a well-known fact that the key to diabetes management is a healthy and well-maintained lifestyle, a proper diet, and a regular regime of physical exercise. But many people tend to misbelief that healthy lifestyle mean a special diabetic diet and that the patients should avoid sweets and snacks altogether. This is not true and can, in fact, worsen the situation. As mentioned in the previous articles about diabetes, certain food such as coconut water, bananas, alcohol, eggs, etc. can be consumed in moderate amounts.
Having said that, it is imperative to not forget that different people react to different diets and situations in a different way. And hence, it is strongly recommended that you consult your medical expert, professional nutritionists, and a diabetic expert before you settle on a particular regime for dealing with diabetes!