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5 Myths of Diabetes Debunked

GlucometerEven as India is becoming the diabetes capital of the world, in this day and age, it is a pity that many people lack awareness on diabetes. While the educated are aware of the symptoms of diabetes, many uneducated people have literally no understanding of diabetes leading to numerous myths and misnomers.  

Awareness on Diabetes

Diabetes is a huge healthcare burden that is bleeding the country. Its comorbidities are major causes of disabilities, hospitalizations, and mortalities. It is a lifelong condition that imposes several restrictions on an individual yet it might shock you that there is a still a section of population that hasn’t heard of the disease condition, let alone the symptoms of diabetes and the treatment.  

While the urban population has more awareness on diabetes, the rural population is still not totally aware. Only a small percentage of literates have adequate awareness on diabetes and some illiterates are not aware of the condition at all.    

What’s more shocking is the lack of decent awareness among the diabetic population.

Want to test your knowledge? Take a diabetes quiz here.

Diabetes Quiz

  1. Have you heard of a condition called diabetes? (Yes/No)
  2. Do you know what causes diabetes?
  3. How many types of diabetes are present?
  4. Are you aware of diabetes symptoms? (Yes/No)
  5. Do you think that diabetes can be cured? (Yes/No)
  6. Do you think that diabetes  can affect other organs? (Yes/No)
  7. Diabetes be prevented? (Yes/No)
  8. Do you think that diabetes can affect your sexual and reproductive  life?
  9. People with diabetes should completely avoid sugary foods (Yes/No).
  10. Diabetic patients  should not exercise (Yes/No).

Find answers below.

As the knowledge levels of diabetes are still not up to the mark, there are many myths that surround this condition. People may mistake high blood sugar symptoms for something else and delay going to the doctor. This increases the risk of complications.

Some people might consult quacks and fake healers who promise to cure diabetes and totally put their lives at risk. And, there are others who have queer and outlandish treatments for symptoms of high blood sugar. They believe that soaking feet in cold water reduces the blood sugar levels!

Here are five popular myths on diabetes and why they are false:

Myth # 1:

Eating more sugar causes diabetes.

Truth:

Most people assume that the symptoms of diabetes include high blood sugars, so eating sugar causes diabetes. This is not true. Sugar alone is not responsible for type 2  diabetes. If an individual consumes sugars in foods like fruits, it is healthy; however, eating added sugars like sucrose leads to obesity and other complications. Other carbohydrates, and fatty foods also contribute to the increase in risk of getting diabetes.

Myth # 2:

Diabetes is not a serious condition.

Truth:

Diabetes mellitus accounts for around 4.6 million deaths every year. Unmanaged diabetes affects vital organs of the body including the kidneys, eyes, nerves, and others causing hospitalizations, disabilities, and blindness.

Myth # 3:

A diabetic patient knows when the blood glucose levels are elevated.

Truth:

This is only true when the blood sugar levels are very high. The  symptoms of high blood sugar include fatigue, headache, blurry vision, and excessive urination and thirst. But, in cases of a mild increase in the blood sugar levels, patients experience no symptoms.

Myth # 4:

Because I have no symptoms, I  do not have diabetes.

Truth:

The onset of type 2 diabetes is slow. Many patients might not exhibit symptoms of diabetes, but are on their way to get diabetes. They first develop insulin resistance, become prediabetic and only later be clinically diagnosed as diabetics. Many  patients might be diabetics for even five years without their knowledge.

Myth # 5:

Diabetes medications cause weight gain.

Truth:

Though some medications for diabetes cause weight gain, these  are older class of medicines. Newer medications  in fact aid weight loss. While sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones and others cause weight gain, metformin does not cause weight gain and assist in weight loss.

So, now you know about the five most common myths of diabetes and why they are  not true. Knowledge about the signs of diabetes, its  symptoms and management is very vital for a better prognosis.

And, for the answers of the diabetes quiz.

Question 1:

If you are not aware of a condition called diabetes, you need to do some serious reading.

Question 2:  

Diabetes is caused due to various reasons including:

  1. Genetic makeup.
  2. Family history.
  3. Autoimmune conditions.
  4. Certain bacterial and viral infections.
  5. Sedentary lifestyle.
  6. Obesity.
  7. Ethnicity.
  8. Pancreatectomy.

Question 3:

Types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes.
  2. Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Gestational diabetes.

Question 4:

Symptoms of Diabetes:

  1. Increased urination.
  2. Increased thirst.
  3. Sudden weight loss.
  4. Blurry vision.
  5. Wounds that heal slowly.
  6. Dry and itchy skin.

Question 5:

No. As of now there is no cure for diabetes.

Question 6:

Diabetes affects the entire body, and complications of diabetes include kidney, eye, nerves, and other problems.

Question 7:

Diabetes caused by genetic makeup and autoimmune conditions cannot be prevented, but a healthy person can avoid diabetes with regular exercise, low carb diet, adequate sleep, and periodic screening. However, one should not wait for diabetes symptoms to show up. Periodic screening is vital.

Question 8:

Yes. Diabetes causes sexual dysfunction in both males and females. If one observes a reduction in sexual drive, pain during intercourse, or inability to get pregnant, one should visit a doctor.

Question 9:

No. Consumption of sugar should be moderate. Excess consumption leads to high blood sugar levels and low  consumption leads to low blood sugar levels.

Question 10:

No. Regular and moderate  physical activity is the key for proper control of diabetes.

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