Hey – it’s spring and time to clean up! De-clutter! Toss out the old stuff! Refresh yourself!
I’m taking this springtime opportunity to help you toss out the myths about diabetes and hang onto the truths. We’ve all heard them: “Eating too much sugar causes diabetes;” “When someone with diabetes feels faint, pour orange juice down their throat;” “Diabetics can never eat sweets again;” Diabetes is Contagious;” “Diabetics go blind!” These myths make my blood curdle, my blood pressure rise. I can hear my insides screaming out of frustration – “Pass me some cheesecake…Please!”
The general answer to all of these myths: Not true!
Eating too much sugar causes diabetes: For Type I diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes this is not the case. Having Type I diabetes means that the pancreas does not produce any insulin. In many cases (but not all) Type I diabetes can be genetic. For example, my grandfather had diabetes and was diagnosed in his sixties. I was diagnosed in my late twenties. My third cousin was diagnosed at age nine.
For Type II diabetes or Adult Onset too much sugar could be a partial cause. Why? Because Type II diabetics tend to be overweight (but not all). As we all know, sugary foods can cause weight gain and metabolic problems. Having Type II diabetes means that the pancreas produces insufficient amounts of insulin to keep your blood glucose in normal ranges.
In my opinion Type II can be a familial thing because families tend to have similar eating and exercise habits. Children tend to model their parents. Parents tend to feed children the same foods and quantities that they eat and so on down the line. They all may have an inactive lifestyle however this is not always the case.
Suggestion: If Type I or Type II diabetes is present in your family history, have your blood sugar checked annually. Know the symptoms. Don’t forget to indicate this on the form you fill out at the doctor’s office.
Note: check out – http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/diabetes-causes
When someone with diabetes feels faint, pour orange juice down their throat: No – not unless they ask you for orange juice. Diabetics can feel weak and faint from either low or high blood sugars when their lower than 70 and higher than 120. I know if my blood sugar is too low (lower than 50 in my case) I get sweaty, shaky and weak, (same as I would while watching a Republican presidential debate). I’ll drink 4 ounces to 8 ounces of orange juice to bring my blood sugar numbers up.
When my blood sugar hits 200 or higher, the first sign is feeling sick to my stomach, however I don’t feel tired and weak until it’s over 300. In this case I don’t want orange juice but extra medication. I test my blood sugar and take additional insulin to bring that number down. I monitor it every hour. If it keeps going up, I’ll test my ketones with ketone test strip. If there’s ketones in my urine I’ll drink water or sugar free soda to help wash out the ketones. I’ll test my blood sugars and ketones hourly until the numbers go down.
Suggestion: Have a plan from your doctor for low and high blood sugar emergencies, otherwise call the doctor. If a person is going into a coma, call 911!
Diabetics can never eat sweets again: Not true. When I was diagnosed with diabetes I was so upset that I cried and asked, “Doctor, you mean I can’t eat any more chocolate or ice cream sundaes?” He mentioned sugar free options so I ran out and bought a huge sugar free chocolate bar! It tasted like cardboard but I was determined to like it. I ate the whole thing in one sitting! This one was sweetened with Sorbitol and unbeknownst to me, eating too much Sorbitol is like eating a pound of prunes! Need I say more.
When I went for my follow up visit I mentioned what I did. He said that if I want chocolate, eat real chocolate, but a little bit– everything in moderation. Since then food labeling has been developed. It has increased my food choices and has made a diabetics life so much easier. The carbohydrate guessing has gone away. It tells us how many carbohydrates are in ONE SERVING! Remember, ONE SERVING! If a serving is 1/2 cup and you eat 1 cup then double the carbohydrates.
In case you don’t know, diabetics have a formula from their doctor or nurse educator of carbohydrates to units of insulin. So if I have one serving of ice cream – 1/2 cup – and there are 35 carbohydrates – then according to my formula I need 3.5 units of insulin or 35:10. If I have two Kedem Tea Biscuits which equal 8 carbohydrates – then my insulin dose will be .8 units or 8:10. Every person has a different formula.
Suggestion: This does not give you permission to eat sugar but if you do make sure you have your medication on hand and test before eating it. Remember: Eat everything in moderation.
Diabetes is contagious: Not true. You cannot “catch” diabetes like you can catch a cold. Diabetics are not lepers and should not be banned from your home. On the contrary, diabetics need to be empathized with and cared for. Many of us don’t even talk about our disease so just be sensitive to our needs and perhaps have some low sugar options in the house for the next time we visit.
Suggestion: Although many of us don’t talk about having diabetes, you can always call or text that person prior to a dinner party and ask if they have any special meal requirements. Putting out only dishes of M&M’s could be a problem. On the other hand if you’re the diabetic, bring a low sugar or sugar free dish that everyone can eat, i.e. fresh fruit salad.
All Diabetics go blind: Not necessarily. If you take your medications, exercise, watch your diet and see your doctor quarterly, complications can be avoided. Most importantly see an Ophthalmologist one time a year. This type of eye doctor will do a detailed examination of your eyes, catching any small problems before they become big ones.
So those are my explanations of some of the myths of diabetes. If you have any questions or comments feel free to send me a message.