By: Dr. Syeda Arzinda Fatima

1. Diabetes is not a serious disease Fact: diabetes is a very serious disease. If left untreated it can lead to life threatening complications effecting the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves. Hundreds of people die every day due to complications of diabetes.

2. Eating too many sweets causes diabetes Fact: diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar and sweets. It is a genetic or autoimmune disease in which beta cells of pancreas fail to produce adequate amount of insulin to utilize the glucose obtained from our food. However eating too many calories or drinking lot of soda and sugary drinks will lead to weight gain and develop insulin resistance which can be prerequisite to diabetes type 2.

3. Diabetics cannot eat sweets Fact: restricting sweets altogether in diabetics will create frustration. In a healthy meal plan some sweet foods like fruits and low calorie sweet dishes can be added in small quantities so that on the whole calorie count remains stable. Diabetics can take 1500-1800 calories per day or 150-200 gram carbohydrates per day. Try to avoid food with high glycemic index that cause a sharp rise the blood glucose e.gjuices, soda, refined sugar, honey Instead take low glycemic index foods that raise the blood sugar slowly and maintain a steady blood glucose level for a longer time like whole wheat cereals, bread, fruits.

4. Eating bitter foods will cure diabetes Fact: eating bitter gourd or bitter herbal drinks will not cure diabetes. It will only produce a bad taste in your mouth. The underlying problem is deficiency of insulin in the body that needs to be corrected by medicine or insulin injections.

5. Diabetics need special diabetic diet Fact: Various foods labeled as diabetic food are not only expensive but also unnecessary for diabetes management. We donot recommend any special diabetic foods. Diabetics can eat all healthy foods other people can eat but in a limited quantity keeping the calories and carbohydrates under control.

6. Diabetics cannot play sports Fact: Diabetics can play all sports. They can even compete in Olympics, provided they maintain a balance between blood glucose, diet and is advised to check blood glucose before and after exercise and take carbohydrate snack during or after sports/exercise.

7. Only obese people get diabetes Fact: obesity is one of the risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes but it is not necessary that all obese people become diabetic. And it is not necessary that only obese people get diabetes, some very thin can also get diabetes. Infact type 1 diabetics are mostly underweight at the time of diagnosis.

8. You can catch diabetes from another patient Fact: Diabetes is not a contagious disease like cold and flu. You cannot catch diabetes by sitting, eating , or living with diabetic patients.

9. Diabetics are more likely to suffer from cold and flu Fact: Diabetics have similar chances of getting common cold, flu or other illnesses like the rest of normal population. But these small illnesses can raise blood glucose level due to physical stress, so diabetics need to take special care of blood glucose, diet, rest and medicine when they are sick.

10. Diabetic patients eventually turn blind Fact: diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness all over the world. But taking proper measures to control blood glucose and yearly eye examination by ophthalmologist can prevent development of eye complications

11.  Insulin is prescribed at the last stage of disease Fact: patients are scared of insulin and they think it is prescribed at the last stage of disease. Insulin is present in all of us, in diabetics the body is not producing adequate quantity of insulin so it has to be given as injection. Insulin does not mean end of life, infact people have lived for 50-60 years taking insulin injections. Earlier use of insulin prevents the development of certain complications.

12. Diabetics are not fit for certain jobs Fact: If diabetics keep blood glucose under control, they can perform all jobs efficiently. Infact the discipline learned during management of diabetes can help them achieving their goals in other jobs in life as well. There should be no discrimination in jobs with diabetes. However certain jobs like armed forces and airline pilot are not suitable for diabetics as hypoglycemia can be hazardous in these jobs.

13. Diabetics should not drive Fact: Diabetics can drive a car if they control their blood glucose properly. They should keep sweets or chocolate with them to eat if symptoms of hypoglycemia develop. However when they develop retinopathy (impaired vision) or neuropathy (impaired foot sensations), it is not advisable to drive.

14. Diabetic women cannot conceive Fact: When a girl is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, her family is concerned whether she can bear children or not. But diabetic women can conceive easily if they maintain good blood glucose control. In fact there is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy called gestational diabetes.

15. All diabetics eventually develop complications Fact: after 10-15 years of diabetes, many people develop complications effecting the eye, kidneys and nerves. But it is not necessary, if diabetics maintain ideal blood glucose level by balancing their diet, exercise and medicine intake, they can live a long and healthy life free of complications.

16. There is a complete cure for diabetes Fact: It is wrongly portrayed in the media that some form of herbal treatment can completely cure diabetes. There is no such treatment available yet. Once a diabetic will always be a diabetic and they have to take medicine for life. However new research regarding ‘Stem cell transplant’ is in process. When it is successful, transplanted cells will be able to produce insulin inside the body and there will be no need of injections or medicine.