Diabetes affects millions around the world and is usually characterized by decreased insulin levels in the body. Most people know that there are two kinds of types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. What many people overlook is that these types are quite different overall.
With diabetes comes stigma about the condition and those it affects. The best way to break this stigma? Education. Here are a few misconceptions about both types of diabetes:
Type 1 Misconceptions
A major misconception about diabetes (both type 1 and 2) is that anyone who has it is obese or just does not care about their health. This is by no means true. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This prevents the body from producing any amount of insulin whatsoever.
Another misconception about type 1 diabetes is that anyone affected can’t have sugar. While maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels is crucial, people with Type 1 diabetes can still eat foods with sugar in them. As long as they plan meals and monitor their blood sugar levels, someone with diabetes is more than welcome to have a few sweets.
The third misconception regarding type 1 diabetes specifically is that those affected can’t exercise, or their blood sugar levels will crash. While some may be more prone to sugar crashes than others, exercise is also important to keep blood sugar levels at equilibrium. To get the most out of a workout, people with type 1 diabetes should check their blood sugar levels before and during a workout and have a snack if needed.
Type 2 Misconceptions
Many of the misconceptions that surround Type 1 diabetes plague type 2 diabetes as well. The most common: that if you have type 2 diabetes, then you must be obese.
While obesity can increase someone’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, type 2 can affect anyone. The condition itself is characterized by insulin that doesn’t work quite right. With type 2 diabetes, the person affected produces insulin that cannot process glucose well. This causes blood cells to develop an immunity to the insulin, and thus insulin levels overall will potentially decrease. Because of this, it is assumed that people with type 2 diabetes cannot have any sugar at all. This of course is not true, and people affected by type 2 diabetes just need to maintain a healthy diet and monitor their blood sugar levels just like those with type 1.
Another misconception is that insulin is either the “magic cure” for diabetes or the worst thing one can give a diabetic. While new and improved forms of insulin supplements make blood sugar control much easier, it does not cure type 2 diabetes. To maintain proper health, a mix of medications, a healthy diet, and exercise are ideal.
Insulin injections are yet another misconception that comes with diabetes. However, advancements in medicine have not only made insulin more effective but available without injection. Pens, blood sugar meters, and pills can all provide users with their prescribed dose of insulin without the need for injection.
Diabetes is not just about maintaining even blood sugar levels. It is a chronic illness that comes with various other risks as well. For example, people with diabetes are at higher risk of developing various eye complications like glaucoma, cataracts, and eye infections. Skin infections, like rashes, are also common as are kidney complications and high blood pressure. People with diabetes are also more at risk for nerve damage in the form of neuropathy—nerve damage caused specifically by diabetes and circulatory issues. Neuropathy can lead to foot complications as well, making the feet numb and prone to injury.
Diet and Exercise
Fortunately, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help people with diabetes stay in peak condition! By regulating blood sugar levels, diabetics are less at risk for the complications that come with diabetes.
When it comes to exercise, people with diabetes should talk to their doctor about what exercises are most suitable for their fitness level and overall health. For some, a full-body, gym-assisted workout is just what they need. For others, going on bike rides, walking, lifting lighter weights, and doing stretches work best. The key overall is not to push yourself, since intense exercise out of your limits may do more harm than good.
As for diet, there is once again no magic list of foods all diabetics should eat since foods affect people differently. In general, however, vegetables, lean protein, and whole-grain foods are desirable, as are low-sodium foods. Be sure to speak with a doctor or dietician regarding a personalized diabetic-safe diet.
Alongside the balanced diet and frequent exercise, diabetics should be sure to always have the right supplies handy. Blood sugar medications, for example, come in all kinds of varieties, and sometimes one may work better than another, or a combination of medications works best. Alongside medications are insulin supplements, which can be injected via syringe, taken orally, or through other devices.
Some products can monitor a person’s blood sugar level too. Test kits can be used at home or on the go to test someone’s blood sugar with little hassle and little bloodshed. Test strips for the devices can also be purchased as needed. Diabetic socks can be used to prevent numbness in the feet and circulation problems that come with diabetes. They are also padded to protect the feet against any potential damage as well.
Overall, diabetes may be a serious chronic illness, but there are treatments to help those with type 1 and 2 diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels and stay safe. To browse more diabetic care products, visit the Medical Supply Depot.