Diabetes is a major health concern in Canada. According to “Diabetes Canada” There are roughly 11 million people in the country living with Canada right now. If you do not have diabetes, chances are good, you love someone who does.
With numbers this large and all of the information about Diabetes that is freely available to us, you would think we would be generally knowledgeable about this disease. However, we have found there are a lot of myths and a lot of misinformation about this topic. In this article, we hope to set the record straight.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Canada (link above) explains it as follows:
“Diabetes is a disease in which your body either can’t produce insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas.
Insulin’s role is to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar must be carefully regulated to ensure that the body functions properly. Too much blood sugar can cause damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves. Your body also needs insulin in order to use sugar for energy.”
Types of Diabetes
There are several types of diabetes. However, type 1 and type 2 are the most common. When you have type 1 diabetes is when your pancreas does not make insulin at all and you have to take it by injection. Type 2 is when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin correctly and leaves too much sugar in your blood. This type can often be controlled with diet, exercise, and medication.
A Few Diabetes Facts of Life
Before we begin debunking myths, let’s address some important facts.
- Diabetics will always need to keep an eye on their blood glucose. This is how you know if you are controlling your diabetes. This means having a quality blood glucose meter kit like the Contour Next Blood Glucose Meter. This meter (kit) is made by Ascensia, diabetes experts for over 70-years.
- Diabetics will need a good working relationship with their medical team. As we learned during the pandemic, life can change in a moment. If a diabetic comes down with the flu or some other illness, he has to be able to call his doctor for advice and get fast answers.
- Diabetics have to practice self-care. Each of us is responsible for our own health.
Myth 1. Diabetics can’t eat sugar.
This is something most people believe but it is not entirely true. A person with diabetes must eat a balanced diet. They must limit sugar, fat, and carbs in their diet because these foods drive their glucose levels up quickly. Then the energy they produce is short-lived so their glucose drops rapidly. To keep their glucose level, they will limit sugars and eat protein that will keep them full faster and turn to energy slower.
Myth 2. Type 2 Diabetes is not as “bad” as type one.
Type 2 Diabetes is just a different type of illness. If it is not addressed type 2 diabetes can bring the same life-altering issues that type 1 diabetes brings.
Myth 3. You only get type 2 Diabetes from being too fat and it will go away if you lose weight.
It is true that 80% of people with Type two diabetes are overweight. The other 20% are normal or underweight. When your body begins producing less insulin than it needs to function, at some point your body mass will surpass the amount of insulin you need. That is why you notice it in obese people. When they lose weight, they may find a smaller size that levels out with the amount of insulin their body produces and they no longer have to actively treat their diabetes. But even very thin people get type two diabetes. Weight is not the cause of diabetes.
Myth 4. Diabetics can only eat “diabetic food.”
This one has marketing all over it. This has been a big one in recent years. “Diabetic” food is no different than any other food. It may have less sugar or artificial sweeteners, it may be baked or eeeeeeeeee broiled instead of fried. It is just like any other pre-made food that is processed for easy use. There will be something in the food to preserve the food unless you are buying local. You will need to read the labels carefully.
Myth 5. People with Diabetes cannot play a sport.
People who manage their diabetes can and many do play sports. There are things they will have to keep in mind. Here is a list of famous people with diabetes who play or have played sports and done other things and gained celebrity status.
Myth 6. Diabetes is contagious
This myth has been around for as long as there has been diabetes, and it is not true. You cannot catch diabetes from someone near you, by touching them, by transfer of bodily fluids, including blood.
If you have a question about Diabetes, make a note of it and ask your doctor. Use the internet to search functions and search from some quality sites like the ones linked in this article. Be sure you know facts from fiction before you try. This is the key to being strong and ahead if de