In India, close to 7% Indians suffer from diabetes. Dr S.K. Nagrani presents us the myths and facts about diabetes to clear the misinformation about the disease.
Myth 1: Diabetes is not serious
Fact 1: There is no such thing as “mild diabetes”. All types of diabetes are serious and can lead to complications if not managed well. It can affect the quality of life and reduce life expectancy.
Myth 2: Are all types of diabetes same
Fact 2: The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Each type of diabetes has different causes and needs treatment differently but if someone has any type of diabetes except gestational diabetes, it needs management every day. However, gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy, but it does significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. All types of diabetes are complex and serious.
Myth 3: If we eat too much sugar, can we get diabetes?
Fact 3: Genetics and other unknown factors are responsible for triggering type 1 diabetes, while lifestyle factors are responsible for causing type 2 diabetes. Being overweight increases your risk of having diabetes and a diet rich in calories can lead to an increase in weight gain. Sugary drinks can cause type 2 diabetes.
Myth 4: Overweight and obesity can cause diabetes
Fact 4: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes but it is not a direct cause. It can happen that overweight people may not develop type 2 diabetes while some people who are of healthy weight will develop type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and is not caused due to excess weight, physical inactivity or any lifestyle factors.
Myth 5: You will know if you have diabetes by your symptoms
Fact 5: Not true always. Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed because it usually has few or no symptoms when it first develops.
Myth 6: Exercising when you have diabetes only increases your chances of experiencing low blood sugar
Fact 6: Don’t think that just because you have diabetes you can skip out on your workout! Exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes. If you’re on insulin or a medication that increases insulin production in the body, you have to balance exercise with your medication and diet. Talk to your doctor about creating an exercise program that is right for you and your body.
Myth 7: Only people with type 1 diabetes need insulin?
Fact 7: People who are suffering from type 1 diabetes depend on insulin replacements. They need to check their blood glucose levels several times during the day. On the other hand, type 2 is a progressive condition. 50% people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin 6-10 years of being diagnosed with diabetes because the pancreas produces less insulin over a period of time. Taking medication when required can result in fewer complications in the long-term and is part of managing type 2 diabetes.
Myth 8: Can Insulin harm me?
Fact 8: Insulin is a life saver but it is also difficult to manage for some people. New and improved insulin reduces the blood sugar. Testing your blood sugar levels, however, is the only way to know how your treatment plan is working for you.
Myth 9: Being on insulin means, you don’t have to make any lifestyle changes
Fact 9: When you’re first diagnosed, your blood sugar may be controlled adequately by diet, exercise, and oral medications. Eventually, however, your medications may not be as effective as they were, and you’ll likely need insulin injections to help control your blood sugar levels. Managing your diet and exercise with insulin is very important to help keep blood sugar levels in their target range and to help avoid complications.
Myth 10: Women with diabetes should not get pregnant
Fact 10: Women who manage their diabetes well can have a normal pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.