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Myths on Diabetes Mellitus

Updated on May 7, 2013

Myths on diabetes mellitus are a broad concept that surrounds the general understanding of diabetes by the general population. Most of these myths came due to misunderstandings on the exact mechanism of this health disease. These ideas were inherited from the old folks who rely on the basic principle of “sugar means diabetes”. This principle is correct, but, it is misrepresented in various ways as it is taken literally. Chances are, instead of having healthy ways to care for their diabetes, diabetics found themselves doing almost all sorts to deprive themselves of sweets and other nutrients, leading to unhealthy status.

The practice on myths on diabetes mellitus is commonly seen among populations that are very submissive to their elders. It is where you can see traditional beliefs and practices towards diabetes that are most of the time contrary to the scientific concepts of diabetes. Some of these myths are as follows:

1. Diabetics should avoid sweets

This is the most popular myth surrounding diabetes. It is because old folks believe that sugar intake is the ultimate cause of diabetes, and taking sugar or any forms of sweets like chocolates would aggravate this health problem. This idea is partially true, but, total restriction of sweets is detrimental. Take note, body organs, especially the brain, needs glucose as its food. This is a common mistake for diabetics; that is why many of them suffer from hypoglycemia or below the normal level of the blood glucose. Hypoglycemia is more deadly in acute state than hyperglycemia for it readily deprives the brain and other vital organs of necessary glucose.


2. Taking sugar in excessive amount causes diabetes

It is true that diabetes is about sugar, but taking sugar in excess alone cannot cause diabetes. This is absolutely not applicable to all persons having good health condition. Remember, the body is full of complex regulatory mechanisms that always compensate to maintain and restore internal balance. Taking sugar in excess has no immediate effect as long as body cells and tissues respond to it properly and as long as the pancreas is healthy enough to perform its regulatory function. This may be possible if it is associated with other risk factors of developing diabetes mellitus like presence of familial history and pancreatic issues.

3. Diabetics should refrain from taking carbohydrate rich foods

This concept is also a myth. Taking carbohydrates rich foods like potatoes, pastas, and breads should not be totally restricted, but rather, regulated. These are essential sources of other vitamins and minerals aside from carbohydrates. This is specifically not restricted if the diabetic person is on exercise and/or insulin therapy to prevent the sudden onset of hypoglycemia.

4. Diabetic diets are only for diabetics

This is also a misconception. A healthy balanced diet is actually a perfect diabetic diet. There is no significant difference between a diabetic diet and a healthy balanced diet. Remember, diabetics are expected to submit themselves to healthy lifestyles to maintain a healthy condition and safe management of their blood glucose level. Diet is just one of these health regimens that must be considered.


5. Fat persons always develop diabetes

This is also not true all the time, in fact, most fat persons don’t develop diabetes. This is because most of the fat persons, especially when they turned adolescents or young adults become more health conscious. They submit themselves to healthy diets and exercises. Some of them may remain on that built, but it doesn’t guarantee of developing diabetes if they continue healthy habits.

6. Diabetics should not perform strenuous exercises

This is wrong. A diabetic is more likely to be advised to do exercises for it helps lower blood sugar level. This aids in the absorption and potentiation of insulin interactions. The only restricted types of activities among diabetics are those that could possibly injure them because of their poor wound healing.


7. Diabetics know when their blood sugar is elevated or not

This is partially true but not always applicable and should not be relied on to make decisions on the modifications of treatment regimen. Chronic diabetics are more aware of the signs and symptoms of elevated blood sugar level through polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (frequent thirst sensation), and polyphagia (frequent hunger sensation). Using the blood sugar monitor is the ultimate determinant of blood glucose level, and not sensations.

8. Diabetics are more susceptible to have colds and other respiratory problems

This is not true; diabetes mellitus is characterized by poor wound healing and not immunity issues. Poor wound healing is different from poor immune processes. The true statement as to colds and respiratory problems is that diabetics are more difficult to manage when they have colds and respiratory problems, not the susceptibility or acquisition of such health problem.


9. Diabetes is not a serious health problem

Diabetes is not 100% dangerous, but its complications do. Complications of diabetes are among the top ranking causes of mortality worldwide. It has been found out lately that the complications of diabetes mellitus has greater number than the combined fatalities from breast cancer and AIDS. Almost 70% of all deaths from complications of diabetes mellitus are from stroke and heart diseases.

10. Diabetes is communicable

Diabetes is absolutely not transmitted through blood, airborne or any other modes of transmission like communicable diseases do. The only manner that it can be passed on to other person is through genetics.


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