5 Myths About Diabetes

By Ruba Al Far, Pharmacist

Diabetes is prevalent worldwide but especially in Jordan and the Arab world. With so many misconceptions and misleading information, I highlight the top myths and truths surrounding diabetes. 

Myth 1: I have a mild form of diabetes

No form of diabetes is mild. Studies show that at the time of diagnosis, 50 per cent of cells responsible for insulin secretion from the pancreas, are absent. If type 2 diabetes is poorly managed it can lead to serious (even life-threatening) complications.

Recommendation: Managing diabetes effectively can significantly decrease the risk of complications but this doesn’t mean the condition itself is not serious.

Myth 2: Overweight people develop diabetes

Increased weight increases the risk of diabetes. However, many obese and overweight people do not have diabetes and some people who are not obese or have normal weight develop diabetes. There is a genetic factor besides obesity and other risk factors that causes diabetes.

Recommendation: You can take steps to reduce your risk of diabetes with good nutrition and physical activity. Those with a history of diabetes in the family should be extra cautious.

Myth 3: Diabetes is a death sentence

This is not true. If you are diabetic, you can control your life and control your diabetes, thus reducing any diabetes-related complications.

Recommendation: Thanks to modern medicine and with lifestyle changes, people with diabetes have an excellent chance of living long, healthy lives free from serious complications.  You can learn  how to control it with the aid of your doctor, nutritionist and pharmacist. 

Myth number 4: Diabetics should eat a special diet

Our Mediterranean food is healthy, full of veggies and protein. People with diabetes can eat the same food as their family members. They just need to increase the portions of vegetables, whole grains and fibres.

Recommendation: Avoid foods that are high in fat, sodium and sugar. Read the labels on sugar-free foods because the fat percentage is often increased to improve the taste. Rely on your doctor, nutritionist and pharmacist for advice over bogus online or word-of-mouth claims of magical treatments. 

Myth 5: Certain herbs can cure diabetes

There is no cure for diabetes. While some herbs and foods can improve a person’s insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, there is no magic spice, herb, plant or food that can cure anyone of diabetes.

Recommendation: Stick to the medication prescribed by your doctor, eat healthily, be active and monitor glucose levels.   

You can contact Al Far at rubafar@gmail.com

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