Diabetes Myths: Dispelling misconceptions about diabetes is an important step for both those affected by the disease and those surrounding them. Many of the damaging myths about diabetes make it difficult for people to believe the hard facts. Discerning fact from fiction can make it easier for those affected with diabetes to deal with it.
Diabetes is at least two different diseases with the same name. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body slowly stops making sufficient insulin in the pancreas to manage glucose levels. With prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, people are unable to use the insulin they make to manage glucose levels and slowly over the course of years stop making as much insulin as they need. To manage blood glucose levels, people usually need to take one or more glucose-lowering medications in addition to eating healthfully and being physically active. But, with proper management and portion controls, they can eat most foods they enjoy.
Diabetes Myth 1: With diabetes, pregnancy is not possible
People are worried about the risk to themselves and their child, or worry that they can’t become pregnant at all, particularly in those with type 1; but that’s just not true anymore. This myth stems from a time when diabetes was poorly controlled and understood. Complications like preterm birth arise only if you are not cautious in maintaining your sugar level. With proper care and monitoring, normal pregnancies are possible. Read about other pregnancy myths here.
Diabetes Myth 2: Diabetics have to follow a special diet
There is no such thing as a ‘special diet for diabetics’. Many people believe that diabetics have to give up on great, tasty foods and follow a bland, boring meal plan. There is, however, no such thing as a “special diet for diabetics” as they generally have to follow the same basic guidelines of a healthy diet as non-diabetics.
- eating a balanced diet;
- achieving and maintaining your ideal body weight;
- eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day;
- avoiding large quantities of sugar and refined carbs;
- eating plenty of dietary fiber;
- cutting down on fat-intake;
- eating less salt;
- drinking enough water; and
- limiting your alcohol intake
Diabetes Myth 3: You cannot drink anymore.
You will need to moderate your alcohol intake. Alcohol lowers your blood sugar so if you binge drink you are at risk of having a hypo. However, there is nothing to stop you enjoying the odd glass of wine, a pint of beer or whatever you like to drink.
Keeping your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible can be a lifesaver. Tight control can prevent or slow the progress of many complications of diabetes, giving you extra years of healthy, active life.