By Puja Gupta
Amid an ongoing pandemic, various studies have revealed that people with diabetic conditions are at a higher risk of severe clinical outcomes of COVID-19.
Practo witnessed a substantial increase of 1200 percent in the number of diabetes queries since last year. This was followed with a growing wave of people seeking medical help for diabetes, especially after the disease came under the spotlight since the COVID-19 outbreak. While diabetes is becoming a global health issue, it is vital to know the details as it comes with lot of myths. On ‘World Diabetes Day’, Diabetologist at Practo bursts six common myths about diabetes.
1. Only older people get diabetes
Earlier, diabetes occurring in children and youngsters was considered to be type 1 (juvenile/ insulin dependent) diabetes.
Nowadays, an unhealthy lifestyles is causing many youngsters to develop the more common variety of type 2 diabetes. Today, it is not uncommon for teenagers or people in their 20s and 30s to be detected as being type 2 diabetic.
2. Diabetes medicines should not be taken for long as they damage kidneys
Many people stop their diabetes medicines once their blood reports are normal, fearing damage by long term usage of medicines
The truth is that stopping medicines will again cause the blood sugar level to rise and an uncontrolled blood sugar may damage not only the kidneys, but also eyes, nerves, heart, liver in the long run
3. Fasting and two-hour post lunch reports are within limits, I needn’t worry
Your sugar level at other times of the day or on other days may not be within limits. Hence, you need to do a blood test called as HbA1c every 3 months which will tell you if you are well controlled in general over the past 3 months.
Apart from that, lipid profile, kidney function tests, liver function tests, eye examination, feet examination should be done at least once a year or in some cases, more frequently, to detect any complications of diabetes at an early stage
4. Diabetes affects only those who eat more sugar
Unfortunately, all Indians have a risk of developing type 2 diabetes (we are genetically more prone). However, it is not only the sugar intake but also, an unhealthy lifestyle that decides whether you will develop diabetes or not. This includes irregular meal and sleep timings, over intake of fast food/ oily food leading to weight gain, lack of adequate exercise.
Healthy habits needs to be inculcated right from childhood. For all the mothers out there, a chubby child is not a healthy child!
5. A special diet is required for diabetics
This may be true in certain special cases as decided by your doctor. However, most diabetics need to follow a healthy dietary and lifestyle pattern which should be followed even by non-diabetics.
What is more important is to have small frequent meals rather than 3 heavy meals, increasing fibre intake in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed food (tinned/ready to eat meals/ bakery foods), increasing water intake, ensuring adequate sleep and having a brisk walk for 30-40 minutes daily with appropriate footwear.
Crash diets should not be attempted as they will do more harm than good.
6. Insulin will damage my body
Insulin is an injection which needs to be taken daily in some individuals with diabetes. Your doctor will prescribe it only if your diabetes cannot be controlled by tablets, either on a temporary or a permanent basis.
It is the best medicine to control blood sugar levels and if taken in the right dose and if precautions are followed, it will cause no harm.
Nowadays, better varieties of insulins and insulin needles with a very fine tip are available which make the injections almost painless.