Diabetes has turned into a real problem as the quantity of people suffering from this illness, according to the World Health Organization, grew from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Now this figure may be even higher. We believe that even basic knowledge on this issue may contribute to diabetes prevention. Many people are familiar with what diabetes is or think that they know something about it. In fact, this disease has overgrown with dozens of myths, which we will try to decipher below. Here are ten most widespread misbeliefs, which completely distort our understanding of diabetes.
Myth 1: Diabetics should not eat sweets
This fallacy is believed to be the most widespread. Some years ago, people suffering from diabetes really were forbidden to eat chocolates and candies. In recent years, this opinion has been changed in favor of the products containing sugar. Of course, you should control their intake and do not exceed the safe amount of chocolates you eat. The quantity of sweets you may eat depend on your type of diabetes, its severity and the drugs you take. Anyway, a couple of candies won’t do any harm.
Myth 2: Excessive body mass is the main reason of type 2 diabetes development
It is considered that if you are obese or have excessive weight you will obligatory develop type 2 diabetes. The mistake in this statement is that overweight is not the reason but a risk factor of diabetes development. It may be supported by the statistics of the WHO: 39% of the world’s population suffer from excessive body mass, while only 8.5% have diabetes. If you manage to keep a normal weight, you can minimize the probability of getting diabetes.
Myth 3: Physical exercises are not recommended to diabetics
In fact, sports and games are not contraindicated to such patients. On the contrary, they need to be physically active to keep in a good shape. This myth is connected with the blood glucose levels that may lower during the activity. Everything you need is to balance your pills with carbohydrates intake to maintain normal amount of blood sugar.
Myth 4: Women with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t give birth to children
This myth has killed lots of unborn children. Women, especially those with type 1 diabetes, were recommended not to get pregnant. Fortunately, now women-diabetics may safely give birth to a child, though their pregnancy is considered high-risk. Even initially healthy women may get diabetes during pregnancy. It’s called gestational diabetes. It needs immediate treatment to avoid complications in expectant mother and the fetus.
Myth 5: Diabetics should eat only food specially made for them
This myth is beneficial for the manufacturers of such products. Nevertheless, sweets, which are usually sold as diabetic, also raise the level of blood sugar. Hence, there is no difference between ordinary food and diabetic products. Besides, the price of special diabetic food is quite high.
Myth 6: The flu affects diabetics more often than healthy people
The likelihood of catching a cold for a person having diabetes is equal to that of a healthy man. Nevertheless, diabetics are advised to get flu vaccine because they are more inclined to get serious complications than an average person is.
Myth 7: Diabetics need to limit starchy food intake
Unfortunately, you cannot eat as much starchy food (potatoes, pasta, bread, rice and some other) as you wish. Yet it may be included into your daily menu because carbohydrates give us the energy we need for living. The only condition is that you together with your medical care provider should calculate the size of the portions not to exceed the admissible amount of carbohydrates.
Myth 8: People with diabetes have restrictions concerning the job they can do
The progress in curing diabetes allows patients, who have this illness, to live a normal life. It also concerns the jobs they can do. Diabetics can work in almost any profession. Certain restrictions exist for those, who see their future in armed forces, as they are not allowed to enter a number of positions.
Myth 9: Diabetes causes vision loss
The situation where the diabetes patient ignores the diet and pills, may lead to blindness. Nevertheless, if you follow all the doctor’s recommendations and take good care of your health you are not likely to lose your eyesight. This myth appeared many years ago when the knowledge of this disease was rather poor. People even thought that insulin was the reason of vision loss. Anyway, now we know that insulin is absolutely safe.
Myth 10: Diabetics know when their blood sugar is high or low without blood test
There are certain signs one may notice when the level of glucose in blood changes. You may feel thirst and have dry mouth if the level of blood sugar is too high. In case you feel irritation, dizziness and your coordination gets worse, you are sure to have low blood sugar. Nevertheless, these symptoms may stay unnoticed in some people. Only special blood test may give you a clear answer.