Misconceptions and facts about diabetes

Equipping yourself with knowledge about is very important, so that you can help your child control the disease. Although the information on diabetes is considerably available on the website, but not all of it is reliable.

Information that is translated incorrectly, or false, or misinterpreted may cause harm to patients with diabetes. Even family members and friends can provide wrong information.

Talk to your doctor when you find the information irrational, unbelievable or contradictory to what they have told you. Do not arbitrarily change your child’s diabetes management plan without notifying your doctor. Here are some misconceptions that you should avoid.

Misconception: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

Fact: Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, unrelated to the amount of sugar consumed. Type 2 diabetes occurs because the body is unable to respond to normal insulin. Although the tendency to have type 2 diabetes is mostly genetic, eating too much sugar (foods high in sugar, such as candy or carbonated drinks) can cause weight-gain, which increases your risk of diabetes.

Misconception: Children with diabetes should never eat sweets

Fact: Children with diabetes can eat a certain amount of sugar-containing food that corresponds to a balanced diet, but you need to control the whole amount of starch, including cakes and candies. Candies that only provide calories do not contain nutritional value, so they should be limited, but not necessarily eliminated completely. All children (and adults) should avoid overeating foods that have little nutritional value and focus on eating healthy foods.

Misconception: Diabetes mellitus ends when the child grows up

Fact: Diabetes does not go away on its own when children grow up. In type 1 diabetes, pancreatic cells that produce insulin are destroyed. Once destroyed, they can no longer produce insulin. Children with type 1 diabetes must use insulin regularly (until other treatments are found). Although children with type 2 diabetes may have better blood sugar levels after puberty or by adjusting their lifestyles, their blood sugar levels tend to be high, especially if they are lazy to exercise or excess weight.

Misconception: Diabetes is an infectious disease

Fact: Diabetes is not contagious. You will not get this disease from others. Although researchers believe that type 1 diabetes can be caused by something in the environment, like a virus, most people with type 1 diabetes inherit genes which make them more susceptible to disease.

Misconception: High blood sugar is normal in some people and is not a sign of diabetes

Fact: Certain conditions (such as being sick or stressed) and certain medications (such as steroids) can temporarily increase blood sugar in people not having diabetes. But high blood sugar is never a normal sign. When blood sugar is higher than normal or there is sugar in the urine, you should check to see if you have diabetes.

Misconception: People with diabetes can feel their blood sugar high or low

Fact: Although people with diabetes may feel some physical symptoms (such as being very thirsty, weak or tired) if the blood sugar level is high or low, the only way to know for sure the level of blood sugar is a test. For example, because blood sugar must be very high to cause symptoms, a person who does not have regular tests may have a blood sugar level that is high enough to destroy the body without showing any symptoms.

Misconception: Everyone with diabetes needs insulin

Fact: Everyone with type 1 diabetes needs insulin injections, because their pancreas does not produce it anymore. Some, not all, people with type 2 diabetes need or needn’t use insulin with other drugs to control their blood sugar.

Misconception: Insulin can cure diabetes

Fact: Using insulin helps manage blood sugar, but cannot cure diabetes. Insulin helps get glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cell, where it can be used to generate energy. This helps maintain blood sugar levels under control, but using insulin cannot resolve the cause.

Misconception: Diabetes pills are a form of insulin

Fact: Oral diabetes medications are not a form of insulin. Insulin is a protein that will be destroyed by acid and gastrointestinal digestive enzymes if taken orally.

There is currently no other way to use insulin but injections, although oral, nasal or inhaled forms of insulin are being studied.

Some people with type 2 diabetes take pills to help the body produce more insulin or use insulin more efficiently. However, diabetes pills do not work for children with type 1 diabetes because their bodies cannot produce insulin anymore.

Misconception: The more insulin you have, the more severe your diabetes is

Fact: There is no need to constantly adjust insulin levels to keep blood sugar levels within the limits. There are many factors that affect blood sugar, including diet, exercise and different times of the day. In addition, the amount of insulin does not need to change over time. At the time of diagnosis, the pancreas may also produce some insulin, so less insulin needs to be injected. However, when the pancreas produces less insulin, the amount of insulin that needs to be injected increases to ensure that the blood sugar level is within the permitted level.

Depending on the level of development of the child, whether the child is at puberty, the amount of food the child eats and the level of movement of the child will affect the amount of insulin needed to inject each day.

Misconception: Children with diabetes do not need to inject insulin or take medication when they are sick

Fact: When children get sick, especially when they have vomited or eat less, injecting insulin seems unreasonable. However, it is important to continue using insulin during the illness. The insulin dose may need to be adjusted during illness (check with your doctor) but not to be missed. When sick, children need energy to help the body recover quickly, and insulin helps the body to properly metabolize energy. Ask your doctor to make sure you understand what to do when your child is sick.

Misconception: Children with diabetes cannot do exercise

Fact: Doing exercise is important for all children – both with or without diabetes. Exercise provides many benefits for children with diabetes. It helps children manage their weight and prevent excess fat in the body. It also improves cardiovascular health, helps mood better, relieves stress and helps control blood sugar. Ask your doctor about appropriate exercises.

Misconception: A low-starch diet is good for children with diabetes, so children should avoid eating starch

Fact: Starch is the body’s preferred source of energy and starchy foods need to provide about 50 to 60% of the calories a person needs each day. A low-starch diet tends to add up too much protein and fat. Following a high-fat and high-protein diet over a long period of time may increase the risk of heart and kidney diseases in adulthood (diseases that people with diabetes are at high risk). People with diabetes should follow a healthy and balanced diet. Usually, this means accepting a diet plan that helps them balance the amount of starch with medication and exercise to achieve the best control of diabetes.

Fact: No matter what you hear or see on the internet, the truth is there is no cure for diabetes. Many scientists and researchers have devoted their careers to finding ways to treat diabetes and they have made progress in studying this disease. However, the only way to control diabetes is now to inject insulin and take prescription drugs, eat a balanced diet, exercise a lot and check your blood sugar regularly. Until you really have a cure for diabetes, try your best to control your child’s diabetes by existing methods.

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