November 29, 2015

Type 2 Diabetes Myths and Mistakes – Part 1

Like bad nutritional advice and the belief by many doctors that fat is still bad, misinformation about diabetes is everywhere. It is better to use facts than believe the bad information.

#1. Diabetes is not a serious disease. Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that can be controlled, but it still causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Many people don't see diabetes as serious because people with diabetes often look like normal people, and this makes diabetes the invisible disease.

#2. Diabetes is a death sentence. Not true. The progress of this disease is in your hands. It takes a time to progress until you lose limbs. Medications can be provided, but the initial treatment is often diet and exercise. If you choose to follow the recommendations you’ll do well. It is often difficult to change your lifestyle, but it is definitely possible.

#3. If you are obese or overweight you will get diabetes. Weight is a risk factor for diabetes, but there are other factors, such as family history and genetics that also play an important role. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and there are many normal-weight type 2 diabetics.

#4. If you have diabetes, you can’t do too much exercise or you might get a low blood sugar attack. If you are on insulin or a medication that increases insulin production in the body, you have to balance exercise, insulin, and food. However, many type 2 diabetics are not on insulin, and the most commonly used oral medications for diabetes, such as metformin and sitagliptin, don’t cause low blood glucose at all, no matter how much exercise you do. In fact, exercise is crucial to controlling diabetes, along with weight loss.

#5. Insulin will harm you. I don’t want to be on insulin because as soon as Grandma went on insulin she died. This is a common assumption and often happens because the doctor kept the person on oral medications until it was too late. Insulin is a lifesaver, but it’s also difficult to manage for many people, but mostly for doctors because they are not up to date and fear hypoglycemia. It’s crucial to test your blood glucose levels many times a day when you’re on insulin to avoid low blood glucose reactions that will harm you.

#6. Diabetes means your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. This is true in type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas stops producing insulin completely. People who develop type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, usually have sufficient insulin, at least when they are first diagnosed. Their problem is that the insulin doesn’t work properly. It fails to cause the cells in their bodies to absorb glucose from the food they eat. Eventually their pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need insulin injections.

This will be continued in the next blog.

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