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World Diabetes Day: Don't fall for these common myths about diabetes

If you have diabetes, it is absolutely essential for you to stop believing these common myths!

Before the pandemic of COVID-19 brought healthcare to its knees, Diabetes was already a global epidemic with more than 420 million people living with this dreaded disease worldwide. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot regulate the necessary amount of sugar in the blood, of which cases have increased in India over the last few years. According to recent studies, the diabetic population in the country is likely to hit 69.9 million by 2025 and 80 million by 2030. While it is so common, misinformation about how to treat and keep it under control is rife. Here is a list of myths about diabetes that you need to stop believing right now!

Only Older People Get Diabetes

Earlier, diabetes occurring in children and youngsters was considered to be type 1 (juvenile/ insulin-dependent) diabetes.

Nowadays, an unhealthy lifestyle is causing many youngsters to develop a more common variety of type 2 diabetes. Today, it is not uncommon for teenagers or people in their 20s and 30s to be detected as being type 2 diabetic.

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Eating A Lot Of Sugar Causes Diabetes

Unfortunately, all Indians have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes (we are genetically more prone). However, it is not only the sugar intake but also, an unhealthy lifestyle that decides whether you will develop diabetes or not. This includes irregular meal and sleep timings, over intake of fast food/ oily food leading to weight gain, lack of adequate exercise.

Healthy habits needs to be inculcated right from childhood. For all the mothers out there, a chubby child is not a healthy child!

Diabetes Medicines Should Not Be Taken For Long As They Damage Kidneys

Many people stop their diabetes medicines once their blood reports are normal, fearing damaged by long term usage of medicines

The truth is that stopping medicines will again cause the blood sugar level to rise and uncontrolled blood sugar may damage not only the kidneys but also the eyes, nerves, heart, liver in the long run.

Two-Hour Post Lunch Reports Are Within Limits, I Needn't Worry

Your sugar level at other times of the day or on other days may not be within limits. Hence, you need to do a blood test called as HbA1c every 3 months which will tell you if you are well controlled in general over the past 3 months.

Apart from that, lipid profile, kidney function tests, liver function tests, eye examination, feet examination should be done at least once a year or in some cases, more frequently, to detect any complications of diabetes at an early stage.

A Special Diet Is Required For Diabetics

This may be true in certain special cases as decided by your doctor. However, most diabetics need to follow a healthy dietary and lifestyle pattern which should be followed even by non-diabetics.

What is more important is to have small frequent meals rather than 3 heavy meals, increasing fiber intake in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed food (tinned/ready to eat meals/ bakery foods), increasing water intake, ensuring adequate sleep and having a brisk walk for 30-40 minutes daily with appropriate footwear.

Crash diets should not be attempted as they will do more harm than good.

Only Overweight People Get Type 2 Diabetes

Growing old, having family members with diabetes, being physically inactive, and having high blood pressure are all factors that also increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So, being overweight does increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. However, the disease can affect anyone regardless of weight.

Insulin Will Damage My Body

Insulin is an injection that needs to be taken daily in some individuals with diabetes. Your doctor will prescribe it only if your diabetes cannot be controlled by tablets, either on a temporary or a permanent basis.

It is the best medicine to control blood sugar levels and if taken in the right dose and if precautions are followed, it will cause no harm.

Nowadays, better varieties of insulins and insulin needles with a very fine tip are available which makes the injections almost painless.

Now, that all your myths surrounding diabetes are busted. Here is a few preventive measures that can help you control your diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder associated with your genes. There is no way one can prevent it. The risk of type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can be brought down by lifestyle modifications like healthy eating and regular workouts. You need to be extra cautious if you have a family history of this condition. Stress management is an important factor behind diabetes risk reduction. Practicing yoga regularly can help you maintain emotional equilibrium.

Apart from the above mentioned, being diabetic also calls for getting more conscious about any major body changes. Also, stick to your regular medication as prescribed by your physician to help manage your blood sugar levels because lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient to control your condition.

Disclaimer: Consult your physician before making any lifestyle changes.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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