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Diabetes Mellitus MYTH & FACT


Today I want to share with you some common misconceptions about Diabetes Mellitus, which many patients with Diabetes mellitus (known as ‘Sugar’ commonly) have in their minds and thus treating them adequately becomes difficult.

MYTH- Once allopathic medicine for Sugar will be started, there is no going back and you need to take medicine daily and lifelong. And because all allopathic medicines have side effects……………..thus try to avoid it as long as possible.

FACT- Diabetes is a disease state, in which there is either relative or absolute deficiency of Insulin, or insulin does not work properly (Insulin resistance or impaired secretion) and thus blood sugar levels remain higher than normal. Medicines given for its treatment helps body to overcome this deficiency and keep blood sugars levels near normal. High glucose level in blood is like a slow poison for various cells of body.  Thus longer we let the blood sugars remain high, more is the damage to various organs of body. Particularly susceptible are Eyes, Brain, Heart, Blood-vessels, Kidney and Nerves. Damage once done cannot be undone by any medication…….Thus only way to save the organs is to start treatment at the earliest.

MYTH- Diabetes is reverted if by doing dieting and exercise, skipping meals and losing weight once or twice fasting blood sugar level comes in normal range.

FACT- Life style management is undoubtedly the first and foremost important step in managing Diabetes. But ‘No meal-> No sugar-> No Diabetes‘ is not true. We need a certain amount of food, calories and nutrition for adequate functioning of our body. Many cells most notably Brain cells use only glucose as nutrition. Loosing excess weight and cutting down extra calories helps in decreasing and delaying medicine requirement up to some extent but it has to be done under medical supervision and monitoring. Diabetes can be controlled but not cured.

MYTH- It is okay to take any amount of sweets if you replace table sugar with artificial sweetener.

FACT- Artificial sweeteners are chemicals sweet in taste. They provide no or fewer calories but may have other harmful effects if taken in large quantity for long time. Best practice is to stop adding sugar altogether and you will find that your taste buds will soon acclimatize. Kindly do not replace table sugar with Gur, khand or shakkar as they are nearly similar only.

MYTH- If for some reason a patient has to take Insulin then it will be continued lifelong.

FACT- Diabetic patients usually may require Insulin during Pregnancy, Infectious disease, while undergoing any surgery or procedure etcetera. During these phases, as eating habits and body metabolism fluctuates unpredictably, it is always better and more safe to be on Insulin. Once the reason for Insulin is over ,patient can be shifted back to oral drugs. But if a person requires Insulin because of uncontrolled sugars /with oral drugs/ or some organ damage then it will be continued for rest of the life and it is recommended and advisable to continue Insulin in such cases.

Looking forward for better compliance by Diabetic patients……………………….

Dr. Manisha Gupta, Sr. Consultant Medicine, Ivy Hospital, Mohali.