Diabetes is a disease that is still shrouded in “myths and fables”. Diabetes is undoubtedly one of the most challenging health problems of our time so the need to separate fact from fiction has never been more important. As part of our public duty and as patriotic Nigerians, we are going undercover to debunk some of the most popular diabetes myths.
Myth 1: I know my body, I know when my sugar level is high or low
My dear, no one disputes the fact that nobody knows your body better than you. However, the body is complex with systems and processes working in ways you may not fully understand. This is why it is important to work with health experts and diabetologists to help in monitoring your blood sugar levels. Yes, feeling shaky, lightheaded and dizzy may be due to hypoglycaemia but it may also be due to a fever. Frequent visits to the toilet? Bladder infections, prostate problems and cystitis are also causes of frequent urination. Our message is here is never assume; always speak to a doctor to be sure.
Myth 2: Diabetes isn’t life threatening. I just have to check my blood sugars
Think again. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, and without proper management, it may lead to blindness, stroke, amputation and even death. In fact, diabetes causes more death a year than malaria and AIDS combined. Sadly, there are many with diabetes who don’t make the necessary lifestyle changes to support disease management. It is important to emphasise that the risk of life-threatening complications increases because many people with diabetes refuse to change their diets. If diabetes were taken as seriously as cancer, we would not be having this conversation.
Myth 3: Carbohydrates are the enemy
This isn’t exactly correct. We all need a balanced diet and carbohydrates are a healthy and important part. The trick is to know what carbohydrates to eat (some are more nutritious than others) and how much to eat. A doctor and nutritionist will help you work out a diet that works for you.
Myth 4: You have diabetes because you ate too many sweets
Not exactly. Diabetes is chiefly caused by a blend of genetic and lifestyle factors. Besides, the high level of sugar in the bloodstream is far different from what is sold in shops. However, eating much sugar can lead to weight gain, which then increases diabetes risk. A healthy diet with regular physical activity can help reduce that risk.
Myth 5: Diabetic patients are the only ones who need insulin
We all need insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the body that processes food into energy. Everybody produces insulin, just that those with diabetes aren’t making enough or able to use the one they make properly. Insulin is administered to manage diabetes, not cure it.
Myth 6: You have diabetes – your life is over!
It is true that diabetes is a long-term disease without a cure, but it is not a death sentence. With proper management, Diabetics can lead normal busy productive lives, and they can definitely have fun. They just need to stick to their treatment plan, follow their diet, and plan ahead.
Myth 7: Diabetes is contagious
You cannot catch diabetes from another person. It is neither infectious nor contagious like a cold. However, there appears to be a genetic link i.e. You are at increased risk of having diabetes if there is a history of diabetes in your family.
Diabetes is commonly misunderstood, and should you have any questions or feel at risk, please see a doctor. Proper nutrition and exercise as stated above can lower the risk. Finally, getting an Avon HMO health plan for you and your loved ones ensures your health needs are met. No stories.
Source: American Diabetes Association