A diagnosis of diabetes can be life-changing. It can also be confusing! There are many questions that come to our minds when we think of diabetes!
Is diabetes really caused by eating too much sugar? And will I have to take insulin injections all through my life? The reason why someone will develop type 1 diabetes is very different from the reasons why another person will develop type 2 diabetes.
Let’s demystify some of the most common myths about diabetes. Click on the link below to get a sneak peek of one of the lectures (on Myths and facts about diabetes.) from our course on Taking control of your Blood Sugar Naturally!
Myth #1 You’ll know if your blood sugar is too high because you’ll develop obvious symptoms!
Fact: Not necessarily. Slightly elevated blood sugar usually doesn’t trigger symptoms. And even in people with moderately elevated blood sugar, the symptoms may be so mild at first that they are easily overlooked or misunderstood. With high blood sugar levels, some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, increased hunger or thirst, weight loss, sores that don’t heal, and more frequent urination, especially at night which people don’t relate directly to diabetes.
Myth #2 Everyone with diabetes needs insulin injections to control their blood sugar!
Fact: People with type 1 disease typically need daily insulin injections because their body produces little or none of the hormone.
But many people with type 2 disease can take pharmaceutical pills to help keep their blood sugar in check.
More than that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder so if you correct your diet and lifestyle you may be able to overcome or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Myth #3 You can get diabetes from eating too much sugar!
Fact: While continually overdosing on sweets can trigger diabetes in someone with prediabetes or another predisposition, it is not a direct cause of it (although too much sugar can make you gain weight, which is a major risk factor).
Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by diet or lifestyle choices. It happens when the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system. Type 1 diabetes has been linked to autoimmunity.
It’s also not true to say that type 2 diabetes is caused by sugar either. However, the chances of developing this type of diabetes are greater if you are overweight or obese. A high-sugar diet is often a high-calorie diet, and too many calories can lead to weight gain. People with type 2 diabetes gradually develop resistance to insulin, and diabetes develops when the pancreas can no longer keep up with the increased demand for insulin. Today, on average we are eating more sugar than is needed.Most of us could benefit from cutting down on sweet treats.
Myth #4 People with diabetes have to follow a special diet!
Fact: A healthy diet for a person with diabetes is typically identical to a healthy diet for anyone else. It should include a variety of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy products, and moderate amounts of healthier fats such as those found in olive and coconut oil.
Myth #5 People with diabetes should limit their physical activity as it could lead to low blood sugar!
Fact: Exercise not only helps control blood sugar but also weight and blood pressure, and will improve cholesterol levels. Physical activity also reduces the risk of common diabetes complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
But be cautious- workouts can sometimes lower blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia, especially in people who take insulin or certain long-acting oral medications.
To help prevent it, don’t work out on an empty stomach, stay hydrated, and talk with your doctor about checking your blood sugar before and after exercise. It’s also a good idea to have a snack on hand to bring your blood sugar back up if you start to feel shaky, weak, or light-headed.
Myth #6 Type 1 diabetes is more serious than the type 2 form!
Fact: Left uncontrolled, both types of diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and amputation.
Myth #7 You have to be overweight to develop diabetes. If you are not overweight, you are safe!
Fact: There’s no doubt that obesity is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes. Genetics also plays a role. But blood sugar can creep up with age, even in skinny people. It is recommended that people ages 45 and older have their blood sugar checked every three years. Start earlier if you are overweight and experience symptoms. It’s also a good idea if you have one or more additional risk factors, including being sedentary, having a family history of diabetes or a personal history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels.
Myth #8. Everyone with diabetes need to monitor and check their blood sugar daily at home!
Fact: Not necessarily. People who don’t use insulin and who have good control of their blood sugar may need to check it at home only occasionally, if at all.
(Get your blood sugar checked at regular doctor visits.)
But those who use insulin need to keep close tabs on blood sugar so they can adjust their doses if necessary and guard against dangerous drops in blood sugar levels.
In addition, those who are newly diagnosed may want to monitor blood sugar patterns more closely at first to see how they fluctuate with meals, exercise, stress, and medications.
Myth #9. Once you have type 2 diabetes you have it for the rest of your life!
Fact: While type 1 diabetes is currently not curable, though research is being done in this area, the type 2 diabetes, which is far more common and often rooted in lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating habits, inactivity, overweight and obesity, can usually be improved by adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Myth #10. Most people with diabetes will eventually need kidney dialysis or have other disabling complications!
Fact: With regular checkups and good blood sugar control, serious complications occur less frequently.
Therefore it is high time that we all need to keep our blood sugar in check whether we have been diagnosed or not.
Prevention is always better than cure!
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The content provided in my blogs is for knowledge-sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.