By Dr. Hardik Thakker, Internal Medicine
Diabetes is a chronic lifestyle disease that can affect any person at any age and at some level we all are aware about it. It is also characterized by the body’s inability to create or process insulin. Though it is a very common disease, there are a number of misconceptions and myths about it. Let’s take a closer look at some of these myths.
Myth1: Diabetics cannot eat sugar in any form
Fact: Diabetics do not necessarily have to live on a sugar-free diet. However, the amount of sugar being consumed needs to be highly regulated. Sugar is avoidable when the person’s blood sugar level is high but if the person has low blood sugar, a little sugar can help raise blood sugar to a normal level. A diabetic needs to have a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber, fruits and vegetables and controlled amounts of carbohydrates, fats and sugar.
Myth2: Diabetes only affects obese people
Fact: The risk of diabetes is higher when it comes to overweight and obese people but this disease can affect thin people as well. A person’s family medical history, genetic makeup, age and ethnicity are other factors that could influence the risk of suffering from diabetes. Additionally, people living a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to suffer from diabetes.
Myth3: Diabetics need lots of rest and should not play sports
Fact: A number of well-known sportsmen are diabetic. Hence, there is no truth in the above statement. Regular exercise is a must for diabetics. This improves diabetes management and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. However, if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, you cannot jump straight into high-intensity exercises. Let your body gradually get fitter and test your blood sugar half an hour before exercising as well as every half hour when exercising. This helps keep a check on your blood sugar levels. If you start feeling weak, take a break and have a light snack.
Myth4: Diabetics have to use insulin injections
Fact: There are two types of diabetes; type1 and type 2. People suffering from type 1 diabetes usually need insulin injections but people suffering from type 2 diabetes can usually manage the disease with medication. Paying attention to your diet, regular exercise and medication can also help reverse type 2 diabetes.
Myth5: Diabetes is communicable
Fact: Diabetes cannot spread from one person to another. Touching a diabetic or sharing food with them will not make another person diabetic as well. Diabetes can only be passed on genetically from parents to a child. Even in this case, the disease itself is not transferable. The child will only have a higher risk of developing diabetes. Thus, it is not necessary for a child born to diabetic parents to suffer from the disease as well.