Diabetes is increasingly a problem throughout the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled since 1980 and is the leading cause of heart attacks, kidney failure, strokes, blindness, and lower limb amputations. It is a major contributor to shortened life expectancy, with almost 50% of deaths caused by high blood glucose occurring to people younger than 70 years of age. There is no indication that the increased incidences of diabetes will slow down, causing WHO to predict that it will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
Even though most people know at least one person who suffers from diabetes, many misconceptions still persist. The following are four of the most widespread.
1. Diabetes Only Affects the Health of the Pancreas
Although diabetes greatly impacts the pancreas, it also impairs health in numerous other ways. The stress of managing the condition can lead to depression, so much so that there is a term, “diabetes depression,” to describe the condition.
Diabetes impairs cognitive functions as well. People suffering from diabetes can experience trouble focusing and recalling both short- and long-term memories.
2. Diabetes Only Affects People with Weight Problems
Type 2 diabetes strongly correlates with obesity, but it is inaccurate to believe that only people with weight problems develop diabetes. People with average or below average weight could also suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
The assumption that weight relates to diabetes is even more erroneous when considering Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks cells that create insulin during pancreatic processes. This reaction of the body is unrelated to the weight of an individual diabetic.
3. Diabetics Must Inject Insulin Often
Insulin therapy is a major medical strategy for managing Type 1 diabetes, but the insulin isn’t always injected on a frequent schedule. Many Type 1 diabetics use an insulin pump which helps them avoid the need to inject in public. It also lessens the need to locate different injection sites throughout the body.
For Type 2 diabetes, drugs can sometimes be used solely or in combination with insulin to manage the condition, particularly in the early stages of the disease. Additionally, changes in diet and exercise can decrease reliance on medications and insulin.
4. Diabetes Can Be Managed Easily
Although changes in diet and exercise may help moderate blood glucose levels, it is not a cure for Type 2 diabetes. Levels of blood sugar can be affected by many things, including diet, exercise, sleep, illness, anxiety, and hormones. Because of this, the impact of Type 2 diabetes on your health is not consistent and the ways of managing the disease must change as conditions change.
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