Sunday, 7 June 2009

Diabetes: 10 Common Myths

Here 10 common myths about diabetes are debunked.

#1. I can catch diabetes from someone else

Diabetes is not contagious. Some people are genetically predisposed to getting diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, if there is a history of it in the family. Lifestyle factors also play a part.

# 2. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

At one time, type 2 diabetes was commonly known as “sugar diabetes”, from which sprang the notion that eating too much sugar caused diabetes. This is not true. Diabetes is caused by a combination of inherited and lifestyle factors. However, you will become overweight, or even obese, if you have a diet that is high in fat and sugar. Being overweight increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

# 3. Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes.

There is no such thing as mild diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition which, if not properly controlled, can lead to serious complications.

#4. People with diabetes eventually go blind.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age. But that does not mean every diabetic will lose their sight. Taking the following action will greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetes complications:

  • Control your blood pressure and glucose levels;
  • Take regular exercise;
  • Avoid being over weight; and 
  • Stop smoking

# 5. It's not safe to drive if you have diabetes.

Providing you are responsible and have good control of your diabetes, diabetics are no less safe on the roads than anyone else.

# 6. People with diabetes can't play sports.

Many people with diabetes take part in active sports. People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active can help avoid complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease.

# 7. People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you've got diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu vaccinations. This is because any infection interferes with your blood glucose control and puts you at risk of having high blood glucose levels.

# 8. People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.

Sweets and chocolate can be eaten by people with diabetes just the same as anyone else. Confectionery foods tend to be high in fat and calories. For this reason their consumption should be limited.

# 9. People with diabetes shouldn't eat bananas or grapes.

All fruit and vegetables are very good for you and should form part of your healthy, balanced diet. Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and some cancers. Eating a variety of different fruits and vegetables ensures that you get the maximum benefit as well as sufficient dietary fibre.

#10 .People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

A healthy diet for people with diabetes is the same as that recommended for everyone - low in fat, salt and sugar, with meals including starchy foods like whole grain bread and pasta, a portion of oily fish and one portion of white fish per week and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. 

You can get more information about treating diabetes here.

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