In a world full of rumors and myths, it’s your right to know the actual facts about diabetes. Diabetes is no doubt a severe medical condition but can be prevented and managed. However, certain myths falsely portray diabetes, and you should know the facts.
Diabetes is a disorder characterized by raised levels of blood sugar in the body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 34.2 million adult Americans have diabetes. But an interesting fact is that 1 in every five diabetics don’t even know they have diabetes.
A lot of false information surrounds everywhere, demotivating the people with diabetes. You can prevent diabetes or else manage it with proper care and prevent diabetic complications. And you don’t want your mind ruled by unnecessary myths, right?
Types of diabetes
According to CDC, the three types of diabetes are as follows:
1- Diabetes Type 1:
Diabetes type 1 is the condition in which immune cells attack the insulin-producing cells;or we can say it’s an autoimmune disorder.
2- Diabetes Type 2:
In diabetes type 2, there is resistance to the action of insulin and ultimately the body fails to produce the compensatory amount of insulin.
3- Gestational Diabetes:
This condition prevails in women during pregnancy, and the patient recovers after giving birth to the baby. However, after gestational diabetes, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases later in life.
Diabetes Myths and Misconceptions: Busted With Facts
If you have diabetes or know someone with diabetes, then here are a few popular diabetes myths and facts you must know:
1- Diabetes Affects Only Overweight People
Being overweight is the leading risk factor of diabetes, but still, it’s not true that diabetes affects only overweight people. Diabetes is associated with several other factors in addition to weight, like family history, lifestyle, physical activity, age, etc.
You can’t neglect the fact that people who have average weight or a lean body can still develop diabetes. However, it’s better to check the weight and manage the other diabetic risk factors for prevention.
Studies show that about 20 % of diabetic people are usually underweight or have average weight.
2- People With Diabetes Should Follow A Special Diet
People with diabetes require a healthy diet, the same as needed for a non-diabetic healthy person. You don’t need to spend money on packaged food labelling “Diabetic free’, as most of these still raise the blood sugar level. You should prefer whole food over highly processed foods to follow the regular diabetic diet.
Myths and facts about diabetes diet are not true, although you must have a healthy diet, not a special diet. Avoid those fruits and food items that have extra sugar, fats, and sodium. Try to manage carbohydrate portions with fresh vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
3- People With Diabetes Can’t Eat Sugar At All
You might have heard about this common myth, which is not true at all. Although people with diabetes should consume less sugar, still this does not mean cutting back on sugar completely.
Sweet things can increase your sugar level very quickly, so consume them on special occasions only in a limited amount. Instead, try to add fresh fruits to the diabetes diet; it has fructose, a healthy sugar providing vitamins and minerals.
American Diabetic Association suggests having fresh, frozen, or canned fruits in the diet without added sugar, having natural sugar only.
4- It’s Not Safe For People With Diabetes To Exercise
Don’t even think to quit exercising or delay your exercise routine by considering this myth. Some people say that exercise will only lower blood sugar and bring serious consequences. Well, you can easily manage diabetes with regular exercise and enhance insulin sensitivity towards body sugar.
Set a workout goal considering your age, type of diabetes, and stage of diabetes you are in. you can include moderate to light exercises like brisk walking and strength exercises in your weekly routine for better results.
5- Diabetic People Go Blind And Lose Their Legs
Diabetes always carries complications, but those happen only if you don’t manage your blood sugar. Blindness and amputation are the conditions observed in people with diabetes, but it’s a myth that every diabetic patient goes blind and is amputated.
You can easily prevent these conditions by controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and quitting smoking. These steps will make your diabetes complication-free in the future.
6- Diabetes Is Contagious
Some famous diabetes myths include “ Diabetes is contagious,” which is a statement without any factual support. The fact is you can’t get diabetes from someone else as it is considered a non-communicable disease. It’s not transferred to others through coughing, sneezing, or being in touch.
7- Diabetes Is Not A Severe Condition
You should never neglect the diabetic condition or even underestimate this illness; it can be life-threatening. The fact is that if it goes uncontrolled; 2 out of 3 diabetic patients die from cardiovascular issues like heart attack and stroke.
Nothing is more precious than a healthy life, or even just life, either with managed diabetes. You should check your diabetic score for a better image of the prevailing condition.
8- People With Diabetes Don’t Have Enough Insulin Production In The Body
It is the most common diabetes myth, but facts oppose it. In diabetes type 2 body produces enough insulin, but it can’t be used properly due to resistance. Body cells like fats, liver, and muscle cells don’t respond to the produced insulin, and glucose remains retained in the blood, raising blood sugar levels.
This condition pressured the pancreas to produce more insulin, but later pancreas couldn’t make that increased level of insulin. You should have a C-peptide test to get an idea about the status of insulin production in your body — This technique helps in deciding whether to initiate insulin therapy or not.
9- You Don’t Have To Modify Your Lifestyle While Receiving Insulin Shots
Lifestyle is an essential factor to consider for controlling diabetes. In early diabetes, a slight change in diet, exercise, and some medications can help to control the blood sugar.
When medicine fails to work, you require insulin shots to lower the blood sugar; but the fact is that insulin alone is not enough to keep blood sugar in range.
You have to manage your diet and exercise routines and insulin shots to prevent further complications later in life.
10- Genetic Testing Doesn’t Help with Diabetes
Diabetes could be genetic, and you can inherit the predisposition of this disease from your parents. It means the condition persists in the genes and can pass from parents to offspring.
If the disease is genetic, then why is genetic testing not applicable for diabetes? So this statement is another diabetes myth and not a fact. You can get your genetic testing done to diagnose the diabetic clues in your genes. It would help to prevent it earlier without leading to complications.
FAQs: Diabetes Myths and Facts
1- Does lifestyle always cause type 2 diabetes?
Not always, but about 90-95 % of type 2 diabetes in the US happens by obesity and an inactive lifestyle.
2- What goes wrong with type II diabetes?
In type II diabetes, cells of muscles, fats, and liver resist insulin and don’t take enough sugar. The pancreas can’t produce the required functional insulin, so there is a rise in blood sugar levels.
3- What is the longest someone has lived with type 2 diabetes?
Bob Krause, who entered the 90th year of his age last week, is the oldest diabetic ever.
4- Does type 2 diabetes get worse over time?
Type 2 diabetes progresses with time and usually worsens gradually if you don’t manage it properly. It may lead to developing symptoms of dying from diabetes. Lifestyle changes may help a little but can’t help in the long term.
5- Can people with diabetes eat KFC?
Poultry is a diabetes-friendly diet and a smart choice unless you consume it dipped in flour, fried, or breaded.
Diabetes is a severe medical illness without any doubt, but don’t rely on myths as most of them don’t have any evidence. Diabetes could be complicated, but this happens only when you can’t manage it properly. Diabetes myths and facts are generally mixed, and you should know the truth before even suffering.