Diabetes is an illness that commonly affects many of our loved ones and close friends, yet it is often misunderstood. Tom Hanks has famously been known to have diabetes and has brought light to this illness.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease which affects the way the body handles sugar in the bloodstream. Here are some common myths about those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is not a serious illness
Diabetes may not be seen in the same category of illness as heart disease or cancer, but it is in fact a chronic illness that is responsible for more deaths annually than AIDS and breast cancer combined. It is also known that diabetic individuals have twice the risk of having a heart attack. Luckily, there are medications that help monitor diabetes and therefore can lower risks for associated complications.
Only overweight people have diabetes
Being overweight and having diabetes often seem to have close associations, but the truth is that anyone can develop this disease, no matter what their BMI is. Other risk factors that are important to pay attention to besides weight are age, family history, and ethnicity.
People with diabetes should only eat certain “diabetic” foods
Specific foods that are labeled as “diabetic” are not really as effective as eating a well-rounded diet that is low in fat and sugars. Diabetic foods often raise blood sugar levels, produce a laxative effect, and end up being more expensive on average.
Diabetics cannot eat any form of sugar
In small amounts, sugar is fine for someone with diabetes to consume. You do not have to worry about hiding all the chocolate when a diabetic person is present, since having a small sweet treat every once in a while is completely acceptable.
You can catch diabetes from someone else
The reasons why some people develop diabetes is still unclear, but it is definitely not contagious. Spending time with loved ones who suffer from this disease will only aid your connection to them, something that the both of you will benefit from.
Diabetics have weak immune systems
Diabetics are no more susceptible to colds or the flu than the average person. However, it is recommended for them to get a flu shot because of the possibly serious complications that they could suffer as a result of the flu.
A need for insulin means diabetics have poorly monitored their diabetes
For some diabetics, their blood sugar can be controlled by lifestyle changes, such as a well-balanced diet, medication, and exercise. As the disease progresses, sometimes the pancreas can simply stop creating enough insulin and diabetics will be required by their physician to inject insulin into their bodies. This is not related to poor maintenance on the individual’s part, but rather just is a natural progression of the illness.
Diabetics know when their blood sugar is low
People with diabetes do not always know when their blood sugar is low, especially as it can be confused with other things like feeling lightheaded from the common flu. The longer that someone has diabetics, the better they get at knowing when their low blood sugar is related to their diabetes.
Carbohydrates are bad for diabetics
Carbs often get a bad rap for diabetics because they are known to affect blood sugar levels. Not all carbs are created equal though, and whole grains can be eaten in moderation and are actually a crucial part of a balanced diet.
Insulin can make up for an unhealthy diet
Taking insulin does not mean that diabetics have a free pass to eat anything that they want. It is still important to take medication in addition to a healthy diet that is low in sugar and fat.
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