DIABETES

MYTHS & FACTS

Myths & Facts

Myth - Consuming sweets in excess amounts is the main cause of diabetes.

Fact - This is one of the common myths among everyone. Consuming high sugar foods doesn’t make you diabetic in 1-2 days. Diabetes is caused when your body is not producing insulin in required amounts for a certain span of time. Factors such as lifestyle, stress and genetics may trigger the onset of diabetes. However, after getting detected with diabetes, consuming these kinds of foods are restricted as these foods will only spike your blood sugar levels unnecessarily.

Myth - People with diabetes should bid bye to sugar completely.

Fact - No, like everyone else, people with diabetes may consume sugar, but in very little (permissible) amounts. Since even normal food contains natural sugars, one should consume a balanced diet which includes sugar in minimal amounts. Further, one should remember to carefully monitor their carbohydrate and sugar intake as they are important in managing diabetes because of their potential impact on blood glucose levels or sugar levels. According to medical experts, people with diabetes can still have sweets & chocolates on certain occasions as long as they are managing diabetes well.

Myth - When you are taking diabetic medication, you can eat whatever you want.

Fact - Taking diabetes medication doesn’t mean that you have free reign to eat what you want or as often as you want. Along with the consumption of prescribed medicines, one should follow healthy diet in order to keep your sugar levels in control. Regular eating of unhealthy foods or oversized portions may avert your medication from doing its job.

Myth - Life will not remain same after diabetes, such as travelling, holidays and sexual life will be badly affected.

Fact - With the medical advances, life after diabetes can be equally healthy & enjoyable. There are travelling kits available online or a store near you where you can stock up all your diabetes medicines/insulins/pens and cartridges so that diabetes does not come in your way of travelling and holidays.

As far as sexual life is concerned, majority of people with diabetes have a healthy sexual life without any medical intervention. However, both men and women may experience sexual dysfunction if diabetes is not managed properly. Good news is that, good control of blood sugar levels not only helps in proper hormones secretion but also lowers the problems of erectile dysfunction in men and lubrication/arousal dysfunction in women. In case of any sexual dysfunction, do not hesitate to speak with your doctor.

Myth - Once I have diabetes, I will have to take insulin injections

Fact - If your sugar levels are under control with oral medications and lifestyle changes, you are not required to switch over to insulin. However, if your sugar levels are erratic and uncontrolled despite oral medicines, then your doctor may insist to put you on insulin injections to save you from other co-morbid conditions due to diabetes. With special reference to people with type1 diabetes, they have to be on insulin supply externally as their own body stops producing insulin.

Myth - People with diabetes are more prone to illnesses.

Fact - This is not true. People with diabetes are not more prone to colds or other illnesses. The truth is that, any illness along with diabetes can make the management of blood glucose levels difficult, which may result in severe illness or infection. Prevention of illnesses such as flu is particularly important and therefore flu shots are advisable for diabetic patients.

Myth - Diabetic patients cannot play sports or exercise

Fact - This is a complete myth. There are numerous world-famous sportspersons who are living with diabetes and doing exceedingly well in sports. Even more, it is compulsory for people with diabetes to exercise regularly at least 45 to 60 minutes daily to maintain healthy weight, blood glucose levels and live a healthy life. However, there are some factors which should be considered before taking part in sports and undertaking heavy exercise regimes because of episodes of “hypoglycaemia” (sudden dip in blood sugar levels). If you are feeling tired or fatigued or experience blurred vision, then don’t force yourself to aggressive physical activity. Instead, immediately stop and take rest and still, if you continue to feel the same, pop in a sugar candy or reach out to the nearest clinic.

Myth - Obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact - Yes, being overweight is one of the risk factors for developing not only diabetes but also other ailments such as arthritis & heart problems. But there are other risk factors along with obesity which play an important role such as lack of physical activity, diabetic- family history, ethnicity, and age which makes a person more susceptible to faulty or no secretion of insulin. Unfortunately, the myth that obesity is the key factor of diabetes is not true for many people as people weighing normal or slightly overweight can also contract type 1 & type 2 diabetes. Hence alone obesity cannot be blamed.

Myth - Children with diabetes cannot lead a normal life just like other children

Fact - Children with juvenile diabetes can very much live a normal life just like other children. They just need to be informed about their condition. Their schoolteachers, staff members and nurses need to be kept informed about their Do’s and Don’ts. Additionally, medicines/injectables, candies and 3 small tiffin’s need to be provided to them, so that they do not face hypoglycemic events (sudden low blood glucose levels). Daily moderate physical activities and sunshine will always keep them fit and healthy.

Myth - Diabetic patients have more chances to get blind and leg amputated

Fact - Research hints that diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness and many amputations each year. However, if people with diabetes can maintain controlled levels of blood pressure, glucose, weight and quit alcohol & smoking, then they will have increased chances of living a complication free life. One can also reduce their risk of blindness and amputation by attending routine diabetic health check-ups every 3-4 months. Important point is that, any unhealed wound and blurry vision or hazy vision are to be notified to a doctor immediately for avoiding irreversible medical conditions.

Myth - Fruits are healthy, so people with diabetes can consume fruits as much as they like

Fact - Fruits contain natural sugars, carbohydrates, and they do raise blood glucose levels. Glycaemic index of each fruit needs to be taken into consideration when choosing them. However, some fruits like mango, banana, grapes and papaya are to be consumed in moderation only, as they have slightly higher glycaemic indexes. Exceeding moderated amounts will lead to spiking of blood sugar levels which is harmful in diabetes management.