myths about diabetes that can harm

Is diabetes a disease of obese people? Eating sweets leads to diabetes? Or is diabetes contagious? Untrue opinions about this dangerous disease can do a lot of damage. Here are some popular myths about diabetes that need to be erased from memory.

Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases (mainly type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes), which consists of a malfunction or secretion of insulin, which leads to the accumulation of excessive amounts of glucose in the blood. As a result, over time, the work of the whole body is dysregulated and many organs are damaged. Diabetes is an insidious disease (it can last a long time without symptoms) and dangerous (it damages vital organs, including the heart).

Unfortunately, there are still many false beliefs about diabetes among people . They are often misleading, promoting the development of the disease, as well as hindering diagnosis and treatment.

Thin people will not get diabetes Experts say in short, diabetes can get any of us. Its development is influenced by many elements: genetics, age, lifestyle.

Although obesity is a risk factor for developing diabetes, it is worth remembering one fact: many overweight people will never have diabetes and many people with diabetes have a normal body weight. Each of us is in the circle of potential victims of this dangerous disease.

Cigarette smoking does not cause diabetes . And yet, cigarette smoking is an important risk factor for diabetes. Smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop the disease than non-smokers, according to the US government’s report The Health Consequences of Smoking.

Why? There are at least several mechanisms. Smoking lowers insulin sensitivity. It promotes abdominal obesity, and this is also a known risk factor for diabetes. Smoking is related to the effect on the secretion of stress hormones. It causes inflammation in the body and greater oxidative stress – these elements are involved in the development of insulin resistance and disrupt glucose metabolism.

Nicotine receptors have also been discovered on pancreatic cells responsible for insulin production, so smoking can inhibit insulin secretion. One study also noted that nicotine led to damage to pancreatic beta cells during fetal development.

Insulin cures diabetes : Insulin does not cure diabetes. It is a drug that allows you to reduce the symptoms of the disease, control blood glucose and prevent complications. Insulin is not taken by all people with diabetes. It is used by:

patients with type

  • 1 diabetes (also known as insulin-dependent diabetes), patients with type
  • 2 diabetes if oral antidiabetic drugs or lifestyle modification are not effective enough
  • women with gestational diabetes if the diet did not result in an improvement in glucose values,
  • people in whom the use of oral antidiabetic drugs is contraindicated.

I have diabetes if I have too much glucose in the glucometer test . A blood test taken from a finger with a glucometer is primarily used to control glycemia in people who have already been diagnosed with the disease. It is not used to diagnose the disease.

To diagnose diabetes, other tests should be performed. The basic one is the determination of blood glucose taken from the fasting vein. The normal glucose concentration is 3.9-5.5 mmol / l (70-99 mg / dl).

Another test is an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which involves controlling fasting blood sugar levels and then two hours after drinking the glucose solution. The normal sugar level after glucose consumption is less than 7.8 mmol / l (140 mg / dl).

Diabetes is an incurable. In fact, diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease. However, there is a method that allows you to completely eliminate the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. It is a pancreas transplant. However, this procedure is very invasive, dangerous, burdened with a high risk of complications and requiring permanent intake of immunosuppressive drugs. Therefore, it is rarely used. Regular check-ups and adherence to medical recommendations allow you to live for many years with diabetes and prevent complications of this disease.

In some people with type 2 diabetes, it also manages to lead to a situation where the doses of drugs can be reduced or stopped altogether. Such an effect can be achieved in some patients by reducing body weight, increasing physical activity and proper diet, thanks to which the insulin action and tissue sensitivity to this hormone improve.

It is also worth adding that work is underway on various solutions that could eliminate diabetes, on a vaccine against diabetes.

With diabetes you can not eat sweets

You can, but… in small quantities and occasionally. Consuming excess sugar actually promotes the development of type 2 diabetes, and diet is a very important part of the treatment of the disease. However, it is not true that after the diagnosis, a total ban on small sweet pleasures falls on us.

Diabetes societies allow snacks with added sugar if they are eaten occasionally and are part of a healthy meal plan (preferably created with the help of a dietitian).

Diabetes can be cured with herbs . There are no reliable studies that confirm the effectiveness of herbs in the treatment of diabetes. However, there are studies that indicate that certain herbs help control blood glucose levels and may be useful in people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.

Herbs recommended in antidiabetic therapy are mainly:

  • aloe
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • milk thistle,
  • fenugreek.

Many doctors, however, are skeptical about the use of herbs in the treatment of diabetes and especially advise against combining them with medicines. Herbs can interact with insulin, and lead to dangerous hypoglycaemia, i.e. excessive lowering of blood glucose, which can lead to coma.

Diabetes can be contracted No. Diabetes mellitus is a non-communicable disease. And although the exact mechanisms of its formation are not known, it is certain that diabetes cannot be transmitted from person to person, such as a cold.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas’ own antibodies attack the beta cells of the pancreas, which leads to inhibition of insulin secretion. In turn, in type 2 diabetes, the cause is the co-occurrence of genetic predisposition (conditioning the malfunction of pancreatic beta cells, and thus abnormal insulin secretion) along with environmental factors such as improper diet, obesity, sedentary lifestyle or smoking.

Eating a lot of sugar causes diabetes : Yes, excess sugar promotes diabetes, but genes and lifestyle also affect the development of the disease. It turns out that the risk is also increased by the passion for salty foods.

Researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that people who eat 2.5 grams of salt more per day have a 43% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is also favored by a diet rich in trans fats. So let’s be careful not only with sweets.

Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes . There is definitely no mild form of diabetes. Any form of this disease without treatment can lead to organ damage and death. The risk of serious complications is reduced thanks to thorough glycemic control and adherence to medical recommendations. Check: what are the symptoms of diabetes.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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