There are numerous myths associated with diabetes and many of us are unaware on how to maintain blood sugar levels. In this article, let us dispel some common myths regarding diabetes.

Myth:

Diabetes is not a serious disease.

Fact:

Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Having diabetes nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack. The good news is that good diabetes control can reduce your risks for diabetes complications.

Myth:

Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar.

Fact:

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger its onset; type 2 is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight increases your risk for developing type 2, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that sugary drinks are linked to type 2 diabetes.

Myth:

Women with diabetes shouldn't get pregnant.

Fact:

Women who manage their diabetes well can have a normal pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.

Myth:

People with diabetes can feel when their blood glucose level goes too low.

Fact:

Not always. Some people cannot feel or recognize the symptoms of low blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, which can be dangerous.

Myth:

You have to lose a lot of weight for your diabetes to improve.

Fact:

Losing just 7% of your body weight can offer significant health benefits—about 5 Kgs if you weigh 70 kgs.

Myth:

Diabetes doesn't run in my family, so I'm safe.

Fact:

Family history is only one of several risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It is the life style factors like sedentary life style, with high calorie diet, increase in body weight and mental stress, which are all the leading cause for the diabetes onset nowadays.

Myth:

You'll know if you have diabetes by your symptoms.

Fact:

Not always. Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed because it usually has few or no symptoms when it first develops.

Myth:

Gestational diabetes doesn't need to be taken seriously, as it will disappear after a woman gives birth.

Fact:

It puts both mother and child at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life if diabetes is not controlled well during pregnancy and not maintaining a proper lifestyle after delivery.

Myth:

People with diabetes can't donate blood

Fact:

You're eligible to donate blood as long as your diabetes is well controlled. 

Myth:

People with type 2 diabetes who need to use insulin are in serious trouble.

Fact:

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and most people with it eventually need insulin. By using insulin to keep their diabetes in good control, people with type 2 can often avoid complications and lead a healthy life.

Myth:

People with diabetes need to follow a special diet.

Fact:

People with diabetes benefit from the same healthy diet that is good for everyone else: plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables, with a limited amount of fat and refined sugar. Simple logic in a diabetic diet is choosing colours (green leaves, vegetable, fruits) and avoid white (rice, Maida, sugar) in your diet.


Dr. K. Baraneedharan M. D, Senior Consultant Diabetologist,

Kauvery Hospital Chennai