Breaking the myths associated with diabetes

Dr Tejal Lathia, a Consultant Endocrinologist at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, breaks the common myths of the people that diabetes can only happen if we consume sugar or sweetened food

Breaking the myths associated with diabetes
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“I do not consume sugar, why do I have diabetes?”

This is a very common question that specialists hear while treating a diabetic patient. However, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about diabetes mellitus. The consumption of excessive sugar does not directly cause diabetes. It is a metabolism disorder caused due to lack of insulin hormone in the body.

The hormone insulin helps the body to store excess sugar in the liver, muscles and fat. When the level of insulin is reduced, sugar cannot be stored in the body. This excess sugar remains in the blood and flows through the body causing damage.

Consumption of even a small or a normal quantity of carbs can be difficult for the body to handle. And carbohydrates does not just mean sweet food, it can be found in chapattis, rice, baked goods, juices and colas, dal etc., as well and they also contain carbohydrates in varying proportions. This compounded by one’s sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical movements can harm even more. No exercise means the stored carbohydrates are not utilised, which further raises the blood sugar levels in the body.

Last but not the least, a family history of diabetes mellitus means one already has a basic problem in the action of insulin in the body. So, on the background of insulin dysfunction, when excessive carbohydrates and fat consumption is imposed along with lack of exercise, diabetes strikes.

Hence, if we want to beat diabetes, we need to understand that having a balanced diet with an appropriate quantity of fat, protein, and carbohydrates along with regular exercise are the basic tenets of diabetes mellitus management.

Along with these basic changes, medications to increase insulin production or improve its action are required to normalise blood sugar levels. Early screening and intensive lifestyle modifications will help prevent or delay diabetes in many patients.