6 Diabetes Myths
When it comes to diabetes of any type, one of the main issues surrounding the condition is a lack of education. Not knowing about the disease, the way it works, or what it does to the body has given rise to some truly ridiculous myths. Let’s take a look at the worst seven.
1 – People with diabetes can’t eat sugar.
You can understand the thinking behind this. Eating sugar pushes blood sugar levels up and so it wise to cut back on sugar wherever possible.
However, the thought that people cannot eat sugar under any circumstances is certainly a myth.
Fruit, dairy and even vegetables contain a certain amount of sugar. As with many areas of diabetes, knowledge is a very useful tool and it helps to build up a knowledge of how much sugar, and moreover carbohydrate, is present in different foods.
As a general rule, look to limit your intake of added sugars.
2 – People with diabetes end up in wheelchairs.
This is another myth which is based on a loose association. Some people with diabetes develop complications which can and do lead to necessary amputations, particularly of the feet.
In the majority of cases, however, these major complications can be avoided by managing the condition and living a healthier lifestyle.
If you check your feet regularly and let your doctor know of any signs of damage, swelling or discoloration, this should also prevent you from having to face amputation.
3 – You can’t detect diabetes yourself.
In order to measure your blood glucose levels a blood glucose meter is needed, but there are signs and symptoms you can detect yourself. If you are really thirsty and need to go to the toilet a lot, or if you are constantly hungry and always tired, or have unexplained weight loss, then you should go and get checked out.
These symptoms are often more pronounced in people with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes (who are often children), but can still be felt by people with type 2 diabetes. Look out for the signs, and have a checkup as soon as they arise.
With type 2 diabetes, the signs can be more subtle and include feeling lethargic through the day, particularly after meals, and feeling foggy headed. Don’t be tempted to rule out symptoms as getting old.
4 – People with diabetes can’t do exercise or play sport.
Ridiculous! The majority of people with diabetes should be exercising. Exercise lowers blood glucose levels and therefore can help to prevent diabetic complications.
When doing exercise however, especially if you take blood glucose level reducing medication, you must be aware of hypoglycemia, what a hypo is, and how to treat it, just to make sure.
People with type 1 diabetes in particular must be careful and should test their blood glucose levels before, during and after sport, and keep a source of glucose ready to hand.
5 – Fruit is healthy, so eat as much as you want.
Fruit is healthy, it is true. But along with the minerals, vitamins, and fiber, you also get high amounts of natural sugars.
These can raise blood glucose levels, and is something to bear in mind. Non-starchy vegetables contain less carbohydrates, and therefore may be a better source to get these minerals and vitamins.
6 – Diabetes is contagious.
This myth is incredibly unfounded. Diabetes is not contagious. Genetic risk factors do mean that if a parent or sibling develops diabetes, you might be more at risk of the condition, but in no way is any form of diabetes contagious. Diabetes is categorized as a non-communicable illness.
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