BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA
Diabetes is associated with a lot of age old and baseless myths that can make the lives of people dealing with this disease very difficult. Below are some of the common myths along with reasoning to prove them wrong.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: Certainly excess of sugar is harmful for everyone. Simply eating too much sugar is unlikely to cause diabetes. Instead, diabetes begins when something disrupts the body’s ability to turn the food that is consumed into energy.
Myth: People with diabetes should never eat sweets.
Fact: When taken as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. The rules for taking the sweets remain the same for diabetics and non diabetics. The key to having sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so the focus is on taking healthy foods.
Myth: Being on insulin means you didn’t take proper care of your diabetes.
Fact: At the time of diagnosis, mostly the blood sugar is controlled adequately by diet, exercise, and/or oral medications that help the body absorb glucose. However with time, the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin. At this point insulin injections are added to the treatment plan. . This is the natural progression of the disease.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t participate in sports and fitness programs.
Fact: Physical exercise is important for everyone’s health, more so for people with diabetes. Regular exercise helps lower blood sugar levels and keeps them in the target range. Exercise not only helps control blood sugar but also keeps weight and blood pressure in check. Being physically active reduces the risk of common diabetes complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage.
Myth: Women with diabetes shouldn’t get pregnant.
Fact: With the advancements in the diabetes care, pregnancy is no longer a reason of undue worry in diabetic women. What is needed is an extra effort and commitment, excellent blood sugar control, and education in all areas of diabetes management.
Myth: Kids don’t get Type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Though most children diagnosed with diabetes get type 1 DM, increased obesity and lifestyle changes have led to a recent epidemic of this form of diabetes in young adults and children under 10.
Myth: Thin people don’t get Type 2 diabetes
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, most people forget about other important risk factors and blame obesity alone for diabetes. This is not the case. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
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