Overview Of Diabetes


Diabetes Myths

People with diabetes cannot lead a normal life – No. This is a metabolic disorder either due to defective action or deficiency of insulin. When the blood sugar is kept under control by healthy life style and drugs, a diabetic can have a healthy, normal life.

Diabetes is more common in Men – No. In most population it is not very different. Women seem to have higher prevalence in certain populations due to increased obesity. Today in India, diabetes is found almost equally in men and women.

Testing urine sugar alone is sufficient for diagnosing diabetes – No, urine testing alone will not help. In some diabetic patients there may be an increase in blood sugar without any traces of it in the urine. In few persons, urine sugar with normal blood sugar is seen. This condition is called renal glycosuria and is not related to diabetes.

People with diabetes should not donate blood – No. A diabetic person can donate blood provided he/she does not have any contagious illnesses, which are usually contraindications for blood donations. Diabetes is not contagious. A well controlled diabetic can donate blood.

Diabetes can be cured – No. Diabetes cannot be cured. It can only be controlled. In certain cases of type 2 diabetics who are obese, weight reduction can achieve a normal state without use of drugs.

All types of diabetes are same – No. The two most common types of Diabetes are; Type 1 diabetes: In this type, there is no insulin secretion and the patient has to take insulin injection throughout life. Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes may be managed without insulin. It can be managed with diet, exercise, tablets and may require insulin occasionally. This is the most common form of diabetes.

Diabetes does not develop after 60 years – No. Diabetes can develop at any age and it is not true that it always develops before the age of 60. The peak incidence occurs between 35 and 50 years, but it can occur at any age.

People with Type 1 diabetes have short span of life – No. A well controlled diabetic can have a normal life span. However, one has to follow a very systemic life, controlling his/her diet, taking insulin injections without fail, making necessary adjustments in the dose of insulin with his physician’s help and seeking medical advice when infection or other emergency situations occur.

People with diabetes should not travel – No. A diabetic can have a normal life just as anybody else. However, even while travelling he should try, not to break the diet rules as far as possible. He/She should also take his drugs regularly and eat at regular intervals. If these simple rules are followed, the diabetic can travel anywhere and whenever he/she likes.

Drugs for diabetes should never be withdrawn – No, is some diabetics, it is possible to withdraw the oral drugs completely and normal blood sugar is maintained only with diet regulations and exercise. These people may have had severe hypoglycaemia at diagnosis, but with the help of diet and oral drugs, they show rapid response. The drugs can be gradually reduced and then withdrawn if the blood sugar response is continuously under control. Such people show hypoglycaemia symptoms with small doses of drugs. However, they must always be under proper dietary regulations and periodic blood sugar estimations must be done.

Insulin injections can be taken at the same site repeatedly – No. The best sites for injecting insulin are the abdomen around the navel and outer aspects of the thighs. It is advisable to change the sites. The site can be changed every day, by half to one inch space from the previous site of injection.

Blood sugar test strips can be stored more than one year – No. The blood sugar test strips can be stored in a cool, dark place, till the date of expiry mentioned on the bottle. The test strips contain enzyme and other chemicals which deteriorate slowly and therefore it is not possible to keep them for a very long period. If the batch of strips is fresh, its expiry date may be even longer than a year.

Blood glucose measurement by Blood glucose meter will not be accurate – No. The blood glucose meters are precise, convenient and very useful for home glucose monitoring. The strips only contain the reagent and it is essential to follow the instructions correctly for their use and storage. The strips can get spoiled if kept in improperly capped containers. The blood glucose values can be erroneous with such strips. If the strips are in good conditions they can very reliable results. The results are very similar to that obtained in the laboratories.

We can relax the diet regimen when diabetes is under good control – No. It is not advisable to relax the diet for long periods even when diabetes is in good control as the extra calories from forbidden foods can overstrain the pancreas in the long run. Other problems will set in later on, which means restrictions in the diet will be much more than what it was in the beginning. Increased food intake also leads to obesity and prevents control of diabetes.

Fruits are to be avoided – No. Fruits can be included in the diet, when the blood sugar levels are under control. Fruits that contain less carbohydrate are sweet lime, apple, papaya, guava. Whole fruits are better than fruit juices.

Overview Of Diabetes


Diabetes Myths

People with diabetes cannot lead a normal life – No. This is a metabolic disorder either due to defective action or deficiency of insulin. When the blood sugar is kept under control by healthy life style and drugs, a diabetic can have a healthy, normal life.

Diabetes is more common in Men – No. In most population it is not very different. Women seem to have higher prevalence in certain populations due to increased obesity. Today in India, diabetes is found almost equally in men and women.

Testing urine sugar alone is sufficient for diagnosing diabetes – No, urine testing alone will not help. In some diabetic patients there may be an increase in blood sugar without any traces of it in the urine. In few persons, urine sugar with normal blood sugar is seen. This condition is called renal glycosuria and is not related to diabetes.

People with diabetes should not donate blood – No. A diabetic person can donate blood provided he/she does not have any contagious illnesses, which are usually contraindications for blood donations. Diabetes is not contagious. A well controlled diabetic can donate blood.

Diabetes can be cured – No. Diabetes cannot be cured. It can only be controlled. In certain cases of type 2 diabetics who are obese, weight reduction can achieve a normal state without use of drugs.

All types of diabetes are same – No. The two most common types of Diabetes are; Type 1 diabetes: In this type, there is no insulin secretion and the patient has to take insulin injection throughout life. Type 2 diabetes: This type of diabetes may be managed without insulin. It can be managed with diet, exercise, tablets and may require insulin occasionally. This is the most common form of diabetes.

Diabetes does not develop after 60 years – No. Diabetes can develop at any age and it is not true that it always develops before the age of 60. The peak incidence occurs between 35 and 50 years, but it can occur at any age.

People with Type 1 diabetes have short span of life – No. A well controlled diabetic can have a normal life span. However, one has to follow a very systemic life, controlling his/her diet, taking insulin injections without fail, making necessary adjustments in the dose of insulin with his physician’s help and seeking medical advice when infection or other emergency situations occur.

People with diabetes should not travel – No. A diabetic can have a normal life just as anybody else. However, even while travelling he should try, not to break the diet rules as far as possible. He/She should also take his drugs regularly and eat at regular intervals. If these simple rules are followed, the diabetic can travel anywhere and whenever he/she likes.

Drugs for diabetes should never be withdrawn – No, is some diabetics, it is possible to withdraw the oral drugs completely and normal blood sugar is maintained only with diet regulations and exercise. These people may have had severe hypoglycaemia at diagnosis, but with the help of diet and oral drugs, they show rapid response. The drugs can be gradually reduced and then withdrawn if the blood sugar response is continuously under control. Such people show hypoglycaemia symptoms with small doses of drugs. However, they must always be under proper dietary regulations and periodic blood sugar estimations must be done.

Insulin injections can be taken at the same site repeatedly – No. The best sites for injecting insulin are the abdomen around the navel and outer aspects of the thighs. It is advisable to change the sites. The site can be changed every day, by half to one inch space from the previous site of injection.

Blood sugar test strips can be stored more than one year – No. The blood sugar test strips can be stored in a cool, dark place, till the date of expiry mentioned on the bottle. The test strips contain enzyme and other chemicals which deteriorate slowly and therefore it is not possible to keep them for a very long period. If the batch of strips is fresh, its expiry date may be even longer than a year.

Blood glucose measurement by Blood glucose meter will not be accurate – No. The blood glucose meters are precise, convenient and very useful for home glucose monitoring. The strips only contain the reagent and it is essential to follow the instructions correctly for their use and storage. The strips can get spoiled if kept in improperly capped containers. The blood glucose values can be erroneous with such strips. If the strips are in good conditions they can very reliable results. The results are very similar to that obtained in the laboratories.

We can relax the diet regimen when diabetes is under good control – No. It is not advisable to relax the diet for long periods even when diabetes is in good control as the extra calories from forbidden foods can overstrain the pancreas in the long run. Other problems will set in later on, which means restrictions in the diet will be much more than what it was in the beginning. Increased food intake also leads to obesity and prevents control of diabetes.

Fruits are to be avoided – No. Fruits can be included in the diet, when the blood sugar levels are under control. Fruits that contain less carbohydrate are sweet lime, apple, papaya, guava. Whole fruits are better than fruit juices.