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Diabetes misconceptions

Rencia Phillip wanted to clear up some diabetes misconceptions… A few of the ways that people get diabetes facts confused. Do you have any to add?

diabetes misconceptions

After being a diabetic for so many years it still surprises me that there are so many ignorant people out there. I have often been asked, “did you eat lots of sweets as a child? Is that why you have Type 1 diabetes?” It’s quite infuriating.

What diabetes is

I would like to give people a simplified answer to what diabetes is:

“Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.”

Type 1 diabetes is usually when your pancreas no longer produces adequate amounts of insulin. So you need to inject yourself with synthetic insulin to break down the glucose made by your body.

Why diet matters

People often assume that a small piece of chocolate or a glass of cold drink won’t pick up your blood sugar. But being an insulin-dependent diabetic, what you consume plays a crucial role in your glucose levels. If you stay away from things like cold drink, sweets and chocolates and focus on healthier eating habits, your sugar levels will begin to come down.

Diabetes is not a killer

I also often hear, “Shame, diabetes is the worst way to die!” Here is an interesting fact: diabetes is not a killer. It is how you manage your diabetes that counts. If you visit your doctors and follow your diet and take your medication, you can live a long, healthy life. Diabetes is not a killer, it is ignorance and an inability to follow doctor’s instructions that leads to an unhealthy demise.

Diabetes information

So if you are not diabetic, if you have interesting questions that you’d like to pose please do some research first. Check if your questions might be diabetes misconceptions that make the person with diabetes feel worse.

If you are diabetic and you are struggling, read as much as you can. Remember what is good for one diabetic is not necessarily good for all diabetics. Take it one day at a time, get in as much exercise as you can, and no matter what your levels are today, no matter how strict you were on your diet today, don’t give up. Life is about trial and error: so too is diabetes.

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.