There are quite a few myths and misconceptions about diabetes that are often passed around by the internet and even our well-meaning friends and family.
Let us look at a few of them and see if we can bust them!
1. You have type 2 diabetes if you are taking tablets, as soon as you use start using insulin injections you change to having type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are two different conditions. They are defined by a physiological problem with the beta-cells on the pancreas and NOT by the treatment people use.
Over time, many people living with type 2 diabetes will need both tablets and insulin injections to manage their condition. Even though they use insulin injections, they remain someone with type 2 diabetes.
2. Type 2 diabetes only affects people that are overweight.
Being overweight does increase your risk for being diagnosed with diabetes, but interestingly enough up to 20% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are a normal weight or underweight.
3. People with diabetes can't eat sugar.
People with diabetes need to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This can include sugar in moderation. People with diabetes CAN eat sugar.
4. People living with diabetes should only eat diabetic food.
Food products labelled specifically as "diabetic" are often more expensive and can still affect blood sugar levels. The dietary advise for people living with diabetes is that they follow a healthy, balanced diet. It is not necessary to buy expensive "diabetic" products.
5. Men who are diagnosed with diabetes will struggle with sexual performance.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to nerve and blood vessel damage. In men, this can mean that your ability to perform sexually can be affected. If your diabetes is well managed, you will not experience any complications. What good motivation to keep your diabetes well managed with the help of a good health care team!
6. As long as you take your medication for diabetes, you can eat whatever you like.
Regularly eating unhealthy food or oversized portions of food can prevent your medication from working optimally. The management of diabetes is always a combination of both medication and living a healthy lifestyle which includes being active, eating a balanced diet and achieving or maintaining a healthy weight.
There is a lot of information out there about diabetes. It is always good to make sure the information you are reading or believing is based on fact and comes from a reliable medical source.
Written by: Kate Ratcliffe
(Diabetes Educator & Dietitian)