There are many myths and facts surrounding type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We share some fun facts about diabetes and clear the air on myths about the condition:
1. Myth: Diabetes is Caused by Eating Too Much Sweet Food
Fact: Not necessarily. Diabetes is a chronic disease that is marked by high blood glucose levels, which result from the body’s inability to produce insulin or respond to it efficiently.
Insulin is responsible for reducing blood glucose levels in the body when it is too high. Although eating sweet food may not cause diabetes, a diet high in sugar and fat can lead to obesity, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
2. Myth: Diabetes Can be Cured
Fact: Diabetes is a chronic disease with no cure. However, the condition can be managed to prevent complications from arising.
3. Myth: Patients on Insulin Have More Serious Diabetes Than Those on Oral Medications
Fact: Patients with type 1 diabetes are not able to produce insulin due to an immune disorder affecting the pancreas. Therefore, oral medications that stimulate the production of insulin by the pancreas are not suitable. Such patients require insulin injections to control their blood glucose level.
For patients with type 2 diabetes, initial treatment may involve only oral medications or insulin injections. Some patients may require a combination of both treatments to achieve optimal control of their blood glucose levels.
4. Myth: Amputation is Inevitable for Diabetics
Fact: When poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to blood vessel damage in the long run, which in turn leads to complications like foot ulcers and amputation, nerve damage, blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and even stroke.
However, such complications are avoidable if diabetes is properly managed. For this reason, it is important for diabetic patients to go for regular screenings of their feet, eyes and kidneys to monitor for the above-mentioned complications.
5. Myth: People With Diabetes Should Avoid Carbohydrates
Fact: Carbohydrates may raise blood glucose levels as they are broken down into glucose to provide energy for the body.
However, carbohydrates are present in a variety of foods (including fruit and vegetables), which may also be important sources of other nutrients. Hence, it may not be practical to totally avoid carbohydrates. Consult a dietician, who can offer advice on a suitable diet for diabetic patients.
6. Myth: Diabetics Can Eat Snacks or Candies With No Added Sugar or That Are Diabetic-friendly
Fact: Snacks or candies that have no added sugar or that are made for diabetics are preferred alternatives to regular snacks since they may contain less sugar; the sugar in these products may have been replaced by artificial sweeteners.
However, snacks or candies tend to be of low nutritional value and can be high in fat. Hence, it would be a good practice to take a look at the content of the products before consumption and to take them in moderation.