Myths vs. Truths About Diabetes
Hello everyone! Today I have decided to bring up and compare some myths and truths that non-diabetics tend to confuse quite often. It is probably my biggest pet peeve. There is a lot of individuals lacking the knowledge to recognize myths when it comes to diabetes. One question I always get asked, probably even on a daily basis: "Did you get diabetes because you ate too much candy/sugar as a kid?"... The answer is NO! My case of type one diabetes was UNPREVENTABLE - it happened through a virus, and my own immune system attacked my pancreas and terminated with the insulin hormone that my pancreas once produced. That being said, this is one of many myths and misunderstandings that I get asked on a daily basis. Consequently, I have decided to inform my audience about what these myths are and what the truths are when discussing each myth. It is very overwhelming and annoying (sorry but true!) to have to deal with these comments on a daily basis. I always try my very best to explain to people why I got diabetes, but not many actually understand the differences between type 1 and type 2 or don't feel like listening. Therefore, this post will serve as a form of education for those who are unaware on the myths and truths about living with diabetes and would like to understand them.
Myth #1: "Diabetes is a Preventable Disease"
The myth of "diabetes being a preventable disease" is very UNTRUE. As stated in the image, type 1 diabetes is UNPREVENTABLE. However, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be REDUCED by eating healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle. This is a BIG difference and this is probably the most repeated "myth", as many people actually believe that I have developed diabetes due to eating "too much candy". No, diabetes is unpreventable.
Myth #2: "Type 2 Diabetes is Mild"
When people find out that I have diabetes, they tend to ask "what type do you have?" followed by "oh is that the mild/bad one? Every single time. I understand where they are coming from, as this myth has been going around for multiple years... But it is so confusing to hear absolutely every single person ask that. Like the photo displays, both types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, are VERY serious. They can both be controlled and managed, and diabetics, no matter which type they are, can live a normal life. What determines how "mild" or "difficult" it is is the diabetic's control over her/his BG levels.
Myth #3: "Diabetes is Contagious"
DIABETES IS NOT CONTAGIOUS. Even though MOST individuals know that diabetes is NOT contagious, I have been asked if it is... I was not sure how to even answer that without being surprised that I was being asked this, but I tried to explain both types as nicely and patiently as I could. It is frustrating for individuals to lack the knowledge, but once again, I was once in their shoes. I understand their confusion and this is why I have decided to create this blog: to raise awareness on what diabetes truly is.
Myth #4: "People With Diabetes Should Only Eat Diabetic Food"
The myth that diabetics should only eat diabetic food is believed by many. Every time that someone sees me eating a cookie, they ask if I'm allowed to be eating that. Yes, yes I am (I wouldn't risk it and eat it if I wasn't!). Even though these "diabetic cookies" or "diabetic foods" can in fact help diabetics to control their blood glucose levels after eating, regular cookies and regular food are just as "normal" as "diabetic foods" for diabetic individuals. What diabetics need to worry about most when eating are any added sugars and the amount of carbohydrates (with fibres substracted). This is because carbohydrates convert into sugars in the body. Therefore, diabetics need to carefully carb-count at every single meal to adjust/inject insulin accordingly.
Myth #5: "You're Too Skinny To Have Diabetes"
The myth of "being too skinny to have diabetes" is something I also get told on a daily basis... "Oh you have diabetes?" "Oh I'm so sorry to hear that! How come? You are too young and skinny!". Diabetes can affect absolutely anybody, no matter the physical appearance - size or weight, especially type 1. On the other hand, being overweight can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, though it can still affect "skinny" people no matter what. Diabetes cannot be prevented and it does not discriminate... Anybody can develop the disease.
Myth #6: "People With Diabetes Can't Eat Sugar"
HA, HA, HA, if I could not eat sugar, I would not survive... Yes, I do watch the amount of sugar intake, as I can easily have high blood sugars if I don't take the correct amount of insulin. However, if I want to eat a chocolate bar, a cookie, or a donut, all I have to do is check my blood glucose before eating, calculate the carbs, calculate the carb-insulin ratio, and take insulin. This may sound like a lot to do, but after being diabetic for 13 years, it comes natural. That being said, I don't eat as much sugar unless I have a low blood sugar, but that is just for personal preference. Overall, diabetics can definitely eat sugar, they just have to take the appropriate steps to keep a regular post-meal BG level.
Myth #7: "Women With Diabetes Should Not Get Pregnant"
Yes, diabetic women CAN have HEALTHY children. Diabetic women can have complications during pregnancy, just like any other woman. That being said, it is important for women to manage their diabetes as best as possible during pregnancy to prevent any further complications.
Myths can easily be very offensive to those who have diabetes. However, whenever I am asked any of these myths as questions, I look at it as an opportunity to educate and teach more about diabetes awareness. If I was not diabetic, I know I would have some of these myths confused as truths, and therefore, it is nobody's fault. I know that there are a lot of misunderstandings (and even ignorance from some) about knowing exactly what diabetes is and how it should be managed. I have really looked forward to writing this post because I feel like a lot of people can truly learn very valuable information about diabetes and may also feel identified by the confusions that exist between the myths and truths. Anybody can develop diabetes and thus, it is beneficial for EVERYBODY to know these truths.