Misconceptions about Type 2 Diabetes

The Diabetics Bible: Treatment, Care and Management of Diabetes for Longer, Healthier Life (Living with Diabetes Book 2)

Myth: Type 2 diabetes is not that serious

Fact: Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs insulin, so it may not seem that serious. In reality it’s a silent killer,  because those with type 2 don’t have many symptoms. In actuality, type 2 is more complex than type 1,type 2 diabetes is a manifestation of an underlying disease process called insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. This causes high blood pressure, heart disease, and contributes to the growth of cancer and gout.

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Myth: Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are easy to spot

Fact: Nearly 28% of people who have type 2 diabetes don’t even realize it. While the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are very similar—increased urination and thirst, fatigue, blurred vision, among others—type 1 symptoms tend to have a dramatic and abrupt onset while type 2 comes on much more slowly.

Many people can walk around with type 2 diabetes for years without showing symptoms. Your blood sugar may be mildly elevated in the early stages of the disease but you wouldn’t know it without a blood test. However, even this mild elevation—known as prediabetes—is thought to be dangerous, raising the risk for heart attacks and other problems.

Myth: Eating too many sweets causes type 2 diabetes

Fact: It’s an old wives tale that diabetes is caused by eating sugar and candy.

What definitely does increase your risk of type 2:

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes (even life-long athletes like Billie Jean King). All it takes is the right combination  of genetics and lifestyle factors . In the past, most people were diagnosed in their 60s or 70s. Extra pounds speed up a diagnosis, meaning more people now get diabetes in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, or even younger.

Myth: Exercise can’t help prevent type 2 diabetes

Fact:  Part of the essence of prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes is exercise. Exercise burns glucose and makes the cells more sensitive to insulin. This better enables your cells to take up glucose during and after activity. Exercise may even be more effective than diabetes drugs when it comes to preventing the disease in people most at risk . Drugs alone are not the answer.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you can never eat sugar

Fact: Eating more sweets doesn’t cause diabetes, and those with diabetes can eat sugary foods from time to time.Keep sweets and dessert portions small, since most sweets contain high amounts of carbohydrates. Diabetics can swap out a small portion of dessert for another carb-heavy food in your meal. For example, substitute a small portion of apple pie for a bread roll or potatoes in the main course.

Myth: Only overweight people get type 2 diabetes

Fact: Although obese and overweight people are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, thin people can also become diabetic. Ethnicity plays a big role.  Populations at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes in general includes African Americans, Alaska Natives, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, American Indians, and Hispanics/Latinos.

A family history of diabetes also makes it more likely you’ll develop the disease.

More research is needed to determine exactly why minority groups have a higher type 2 diabetes risk, but some believe these groups may have inherited a “thrifty gene” that helped their ancestors get through alternating periods of feast and famine—in other words, their bodies cling to fat to prepare for long periods without food, an evolutionary adaptation that’s no longer necessary. Others believe that poverty and lack of access to health care play a role.

Myth:Type 2 Diabetes means you have to give yourself shots

Fact: Type 2 diabetes rarely requires insulin shots. If you need insulin shots, it’s likely only one injection a day and without any diabetes pill. Managing type 2 diabetes more frequently includes stress reduction, diet, exercise, and oral medication.Stress increases blood sugar levels substantially. Along with diet and exercise,practicing mindfulness as a way to avoid blood sugar spikes due to stress.

Try your best to avoid stress, be in the now, enjoy nature,animals or your favourite hobby,spend some time doing what makes you feel happy and relaxed, keep your mind and body in the same place.

Myth: It’s easy to tell if your blood sugar is high by how you feel

Fact: Typical symptoms of high blood sugar include increased thirst and urination, dry mouth, fatigue, and blurred vision. Low blood sugar may trigger shakiness, sweating, irritability, dizziness, and lack of coordination.

But often those with diabetes “adjust” to these feelings and don’t know their true blood sugar without checking it. The brain can adjust to high and low blood sugars, and often a person with type 2 diabetes cant ‘feel’ when their sugar’s low or high. It requires a blood test to know for sure.

Myth: If you don’t take care of your type 2 diabetes, you’ll end up on insulin

Fact: Around 25% of people developing type 2 diabetes will need insulin. It’s not because they have done anything wrong, simply that the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have become so fatigued they cannot produce enough insulin to cope with the demands of food. This “insulin exhaustion” is often worse in those who are overweight, as this given amount of insulin is less effective at keeping blood glucose levels under control.

Myth: Insulin makes you gain weight

Fact: Insulin does not cause weight gain on its own, but people going on insulin often do report weight gain.

Insulin injections make a person super efficient at keeping hold of any excess calories that they previously lost through the kidneys when the diet was not as well controlled.

If this happens, check with your doctor to be sure you’re not on too much insulin. This can cause excess weight gain when people ‘feed up’ their insulin to stop their blood glucose levels from going too low.

Myth: Once you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you have it for life

Fact: A lot of people who develop type 2 diabetes are carrying excess weight. And they often don’t exercise as much as they should. The good news is that if you’re overweight and have type 2 diabetes, losing the extra pounds by cutting portion sizes and exercising more will be beneficial.

In some cases, people can even reverse the diabetes process, especially if those lifestyle changes happen as soon as type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. In one study, losing an average of 15 pounds through lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% over three years.

Myth:Type 2 Diabetes is the same for everyone

Fact:  Symptoms, dietary approaches, and reactions to various foods all vary individually in type 2 diabetes. Some people have no symptoms until they experience a heart attack. While in the hospital they find out their blood sugar is sky high but they had no prior idea they were diabetic. Whether or not you exercise can play a significant role in determining your blood sugar after eating a certain food as well. You can give the same number of calories to two different people and their blood sugar may be different, depending on fitness level and even ethnicity. Keeping a food diary with foods and blood sugar reactions two hours after a meal helps determine an individual’s reaction to specific foods.

Myth: Diabetes means you’ll go blind or lose a limb

Fact: Left uncontrolled, diabetes can cause serious damage, including heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and loss of a limb. But the risk can be greatly reduced by keeping blood sugar under control .Better glucose (blood sugar) control, the right medications, and smart choices about foods are critical for reducing the risk of complications. Working to achieve ideal weight is another powerful tool to avoid complications.Early detection helps reduce the risk of complications, along with regular eye exams, urine tests, and foot exams.

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