Separating Diabetes Myths from Truths

Despite its prevalence, misinformation surrounds diabetes. Here we set the record straight.

Separating Diabetes Myths from Truths

Myth If you develop diabetes, you can never eat sugar again.
Truth People with diabetes can have a small amount of added sugar in the food they eat as part of their healthy eating plan.

Myth I have just a touch of diabetes.
Truth There is no such thing as a ‘touch of diabetes’, just as there is no such thing as a ‘touch of pregnancy’. While type 2 diabetes can in some cases be reversed through bariatric surgery and newly diagnosed patients may be able to go off medication with diet and exercise changes, for most people it will be a lifelong condition.

Myth I feel fine, so my blood glucose is fine.
Truth High or low blood glucose doesn’t always produce obvious symptoms. Regular monitoring is the only way to know for sure.

Myth I’m a pro at self-management; check-ups are just a waste of time.
Truth The medical community is constantly learning more about this complex condition and how best to deal with it. Regular check-ups are essential to help prevent complications from arising.

Myth If I don’t need insulin or medications, it isn’t serious.
Truth Diabetes is always serious. Healthy eating and exercise can keep your blood glucose in check but your cells are still insulin resistant and your condition could worsen if you don’t control it.

An Agenda for Action

Implementing a ‘big-picture’ plan will help you to manage your diabetes, enabling you to live a stimulating, productive and enjoyable life.

1. Be committed: No, you don’t need to obsess about your blood glucose. But studies have demonstrated that closely monitoring your blood-glucose levels to help you keep as near to a normal range as possible can dramatically reduce your risk of complications from diabetes.

2. Eat smarter: A healthy eating plan is the first stop in controlling your weight. It’s also a tool for managing your blood-glucose levels, blood fats and blood pressure. This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating your favourite foods or subscribe to an eccentric diet. Instead, you’ll want to follow a balanced plan that provides food variety in moderate proportions.

3. Lose weight: Being overweight is the biggest contributor to the vast majority of type 2 diabetes cases, and dropping excess kilos is the single most important move you can make to assert control over your disease.

4. Get moving: Equally important to your weight and blood glucose is physical activity. The philosophy is similar to that of healthy eating – nothing extreme is necessary. You just need to get your heart and muscles into action with moderate activities. Walking is a good example of a low-impact activity that is easy and pleasurable. Find a routine you enjoy and stick with it.

Shut-eye helps

Sleeping in at the weekend may help prevent diabetes among the sleep deprived, concludes a recent US study. Sleep deprivation seems to lead to increased diabetes risk and a worsening of symptoms for those with diabetes, but the study showed that two weekend nights of long, uninterrupted sleep may be enough to reverse a week’s worth of insufficient shut-eye.


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