Diabetes: Common Myths

To reduce or avoid sugar, among other things, is a common dilemma for diabetics

TastingThere is a glut of information, and erroneous beliefs, on diabetes. This is all the more reason why you should make sure you’re getting the right information.

You should avoid all sweet fruits

Fruits and vegetables are extremely good for diabetics. Vegetables reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers and gut problems. It is best to eat at least 1-2 portions of fruits and vegetables every day. A variety of different fruits [including bananas and grapes] and vegetables is your best health insurance policy.

You always inherit diabetes?

It is widely believed that diabetes is inherited, but this is not true. One can have Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes, even without a family history. It is, however, true that a person has more chances of suffering from Type-2 diabetes, if there is a family history.

Too much sugar causes diabetes

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. But, eating a diet rich in fat and sugar can make you overweight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.

You can have “mild” diabetes

There is no such thing as mild, or borderline, diabetes. All diabetes are equally serious.

You can “get” diabetes from someone

Diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like flu. Interestingly, there seems to be a sort of genetic link in diabetes, particularly Type-2 diabetes.

All people with diabetes go blind

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people. However, research shows you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes complications — such as blindness, or lack of vision by controlling your glucose levels and blood pressure, keeping active, maintaining your ideal body weight, and giving up smoking.

You can’t eat sweets

No problem, if you eat them as part of a healthy diet. It is best to limit them, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

No driving for diabetics

We know you are a responsible citizen and have good control of your diabetes. Studies show that people with diabetes are no less safe on the roads than anyone else.

Diabetes is only for the middle-aged

There is a common myth that youngsters and the elderly don’t develop diabetes. The disease doesn’t have age bias. Young people [12-14] years and the elderly who are as old as 70 can develop the malady.

You cannot do exercise

People with diabetes should exercise regularly. This has to be made a part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active helps avoid complications, such as heart disease. A diabetic should, of course, take into account their diabetes status before taking up a new exercise regime. It is best to speak to a doctor before embarking on an exercise programme.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Dr W R Patil, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine, MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai.


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