Diabetes Myths Busted

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Myth 1: Diabetes comes from eating too much sugar.

The causes of diabetes for both type 1 and 2 are not yet known. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, which means the body’s immune system destroys it’s own tissue, which in this case is the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. What prompts the immune system to target these cells is unknown, but age, genetics, environment, and other factors all play a part.

Myth 2: Diabetes can be reversed with diet and exercise.

Diet and exercise play an important role (especially in type 2 diabetics) in managing their glucose levels. However, type 1 diabetics will always be dependent on the infusion of insulin whether by injection or insulin pump for the rest of their life. Even type 2 diabetics can’t reverse their diabetes, but they can diet and exercise enough to where they no longer require medications to treat it.

Myth 3: Kids can grow out of type 1 diabetes.

Not true at all. Diabetes is a lifelong condition, and people of any age can be diagnosed with it – both type 1 and type 2.

Myth 4: People with diabetes can’t have sugar.

With the right amount of planning, medication, and attention to the amount of carbohydrates they eat, people with diabetes can enjoy all the same foods that people without diabetes can. Some people with diabetes may choose not to eat sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods for a variety of reasons. Others might plan ahead to take extra insulin for a piece of cake or a doughnut. What’s more, people with diabetes rely on fast-acting forms of sugar (orange juice, candy, or glucose tabs) to help balance their blood glucose levels and treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Myth 5: Insulin is the cure for diabetes.

Insulin is a necessary and life-saving treatment for those with type 1 diabetes, but it’s not a cure. While manufactured insulin can do almost the same job as the insulin naturally produced by the bodies of people without diabetes, it’s not as precise. People with diabetes must constantly evaluate their daily — and hourly — insulin needs, which can be affected by food intake, stress, illness, exercise and other factors.

Myth 6: People who use insulin (or have insulin pumps) have the most serious form of diabetes.

No type of diabetes is more or less serious than another — all require hard work, healthy choices, and near-constant attention. The most serious form of diabetes is the one where the person who has it doesn’t care about their disease or can’t afford the necessary supplies that having diabetes requires. This leads to serious complications

Myth 7: Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors “do it all” for people with diabetes.

Breakthroughs in insulin delivery and glucose monitoring technology are making a big difference in the way people manage track their diabetes. However, people with diabetes must still calculate the amount of carbohydrate they eat, measure their blood glucose with finger sticks, and “think” for the tools they use.

Myth 8: When people with diabetes experience episodes of high or low blood sugar, it means they aren’t taking care of themselves.

Managing type 1 diabetes is both a 24/7 job and an inexact science. Since there’s no way to replicate the body’s natural methods of maintaining safe and healthy blood glucose levels, every person with diabetes will experience high and low blood sugars. These can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and dangerous. It’s important to remember that these episodes do not always happen because a person is not taking care of him or herself; they happen because that person has type 1 diabetes.

By: Miranda Montgomery (Type 1 diabetic for 20+ years) Admin for Type 1 Diabetes Support Group on Facebook with 14 K members