3 Diabetes Myths Dispelled

Last night while at a party I was asked about my profession. Immediately people started sharing what their blood glucose levels were and wanted to know what their number should be, as well as the disease symptoms. One gal shared that her blood glucose was 101, which indicated pre-diabetes. Another individual shared that his number had been 137, which is a diagnosis of diabetes. He reported that he had been given a meter to test his blood several months back but admitted that he hadn’t checked his glucose once since the appointment.

I believe that some people feel that if they just avoid the issue, that in time, things will get better. Unfortunately, I have seen people several years later because things haven’t improved, but perhaps they are now at a point where they are able to deal with the situation and understand the disease. Others may be confused with all the differing and abundant information that is out there.

This excerpt will explore several myths that I often come across when talking with people, that will hopefully dispel some of the myths regarding diabetes that you yourself may have had.

Myth #1: You can have borderline diabetes for years.

Fact: Borderline diabetes doesn’t exist—it’s like telling a woman she’s kind of pregnant. As funny as that my sound, it is the same way with diabetes. You either have it or you don’t.  Unfortunately, people were previously told they had borderline diabetes or a “touch of sugar”. There was really no intervention or recommendations made and thus this diagnosis wasn’t taken very seriously—that is, until the person developed diabetes. Today, blood glucose values found between “normal” (blood glucose values of 99 or under) and diabetes (126 and above) is a condition known as pre-diabetes. Intervention should be done to promote weight loss by managing carbohydrate intake, reducing and changing the types of fat consumed and increasing exercise. Up to 60% of those with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes when the disorder is properly cared for.

Myth #2: People go on insulin because they failed, or their diabetes is very bad.

Fact: People with diabetes don’t fail—their pancreas does. The pancreas is the organ that produces insulin, which is needed to get energy (glucose) into cells. When the pancreas is no longer able to put out sufficient insulin to keep blood glucose levels controlled, medications—whether it be oral or injected–will be needed.

Myth #3: Once you start on insulin, you never get off of it.

Fact: For people with Type 1 diabetes this is true, as the pancreas no longer makes any insulin, and the person would die without receiving injected insulin. For people with Type 2 diabetes, if insulin resistance is decreased with weight loss from lifestyle changes, a person may be able to reduce their insulin dose, and in some instances, totally get off insulin and control their blood glucose with diet, exercise, and possibly some other types of medications.