We know someone with diabetes, within us, someone in the family or a friend. It is such a common disease. We are familiar with type 2 diabetes because it is the most common type of diabetes. And, we discussed the differences between type 1 and type 2 earlier.
At the same time, we are cautious about the disease and keen to manage it well knowing the consequences if not managed effectively.
Due to its popularity, regardless we a part of it or not we all know ‘something’ about it so as we come across someone with the disease, we do not hesitate to give some advice voluntarily with very good intentions of helping out. However, the challenge is the some of those ‘advises’ are based on myths rather than the facts.
As we talk more, sometimes, unintentionally, we just keep spreading those myths ignoring the facts.
As a society and a community, it is vital to move away from myths to live healthily. Hope you agree and so far with me?
If so, let us dig into ten most widespread myths and opinions about diabetes and the truth behind them.
Long term diabetic drugs cause kidney diseases.
I have met hundreds of people with diabetes mellitus in my carrier. Some have good control over their disease, but some have poor control. When I ask about reasons for poor control blood sugar levels, some people came out with the saying ‘diabetic drugs can cause kidney disease in the long term, so I take drugs when only required’.
Truth – The reason for most diabetes people prone to get kidney diseases because they have poor blood sugar control over a long period. With uncontrolled diabetes, when glucose concentration high in the blood, they bind inside the kidneys and cause kidney failure. If you control your blood sugar at an optimal level, your kidneys will function better and longer. Therefore, controlling diabetes well is paramount oppose to worrying about drug effect on organs.
Diabetes Mellitus is not a serious disease.
Given type 2 Diabetes is a widespread disease people think it is not that serious and living with diabetes is a part of anyone’s life. They take it lightly and live without control.
Truth – Diabetes is a silent killer. It causes most of the chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, leading to life-threatening events like heart attacks.
Tablets are better than insulin injections
It is common people with diabetes to refuse insulin shots and instead requests oral drugs. When I ask for the reasons for refusing insulin, they say:
‘Insulin causes weight gain’,
‘Insulin may cause hypoglycemic (low sugar level in blood) attacks’
‘I can get addicted to Insulin’
Truth – Some of the facts about Insulin are:
- Insulin helps you to utilize foods efficiently. In diabetes, you may gain weight, but that is not because of insulin but food habits you have. So, firstly, you have to change your food habits to a balanced, and controlled nutritious diet before blaming insulin.
- Yes, sometimes insulin can cause hypoglycemic attacks which can also happen due to hypoglycemic drugs. Although it is very rare, people with diabetes should learn how to identify a hypoglycemic attack if you are on any drug for diabetes and the immediate action you should take for that kind of attacks like taking oral sugar or any other sugary foods. For example, a piece of chocolate, glucose or a drink contain sugar.
- You will not get addicted to Insulin. Remember, insulin is a natural hormone in our body, and it is not a drug per se. So you do not need to get afraid of any sort of ‘addiction’.
People with diabetes can feel their blood sugar level is high or low.
Most of the people who are having complications of diabetes tell that they can feel the level of blood sugar is high or low, so they change their drug doses according to that. Ultimately these people ended up with complications.
Truth – Low blood sugar levels may cause sweating, fiendishness, alter the level of consciousness, dizziness and irritability. High blood sugar levels may cause thrust, increase urination and dry mouth. Articles about symptoms of diabetes in adults and children, and the diabetes symptoms specific to women note them in detail.
However, a person with diabetes taking medication cannot rely on those symptoms, and it is not recommended changing the drug doses according to that. The recommended approach is to check the blood sugar level using a glucometer and based on your reading to adjust the dose.
Diabetes can cure using herbal medication within weeks.
I have seen several advertisements mentioning their herbal product can cure diabetes within two weeks or a month. People who wish to explore treatment options beyond western medicine get caught up with such treatment option which sometimes promises ‘miracles’.
Truth – there is some research claiming that specific herbs may reduce blood glucose levels. Nonetheless, we know very little about those research and especially on their long-term effects. Worth mentioning that I have met people who took herbal medications and ended up with severe hypoglycemic attacks too.
It is not suitable to get pregnant if you have diabetes.
Truth – I say “no” to this. Women with diabetes can undergo normal pregnancy and have a healthy child as others do. Only thing is if you are diabetic and pregnant you have to control your blood sugar level carefully and follow the instructions given by your healthcare professionals.
Hope you remember my article about diabetes during pregnancy? Just follow the link.
The severity of diabetes is the same throughout so you can continue with the same medication for years
I met people who are using the same prescription for diabetes over and over again for years. They think there is no need for reviewing drugs because the condition remains the same.
Truth – The severity of diabetes and its effect on your body changes all the time. So it is essential to check your blood sugar level regularly and adjusts the drug doses and treatment strategy according to that.
People with diabetes are more prone to get infections.
Some people with diabetes think they can not go out and engage in the community because they are more prone to get infections.
Truth – Nope, that is wrong. You are not prone to get infections, but if you get such disease, the probability of having complications of that disease is high.
When your body systems fight with a second disease your blood sugar levels tend to go up. Therefore, you should seek medical advice as soon as you get another disease without delaying. Saying so, generally speaking, there is no reason why you should try to live in a ‘sterile’ environment.
People with diabetes have sexual dysfunction.
Sometimes people say they were rejected by their partner after diagnosed to have diabetes. People also think they might have sexual dysfunction.
Truth – It is essential to know, diabetes itself do not cause any sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido and vaginal dryness. But it can happen due to long term poor glycaemic control, so as said earlier effective control of diabetes is paramount.
Some people believe they are out of risk of having diabetes because they do not have a family history of diabetes.
Truth – There are so many causes for diabetes like overweight, high blood pressure, high level of cholesterol, and lack of physical activities. Family history is just one of them. So people having other risk factors can get type 2 Diabetes even they do not have a family history.
So folks, now you can work out most common myths when you chat with family and friends about diabetes. When you hear a myth best to correct it and spread the truths and facts in all possible ways so we can save us better.