• Diabetes - Breaking some myths

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KUWAIT: Diabetes especially type 2 is rife in Kuwait. With a common condition also come common misconceptions, vested interests, mainly commercial and abundant information which is hard to sieve through for a person suffering with the condition and at the same time trying to grapple with the demands of busy life. In today’s column I have tried to address and dispel some commonly held false beliefs which blight the sufferer’s lives and create undue stresses

SOME PEOPLE HAVE MILD DIABETES There is no such thing as mild diabetes. All diabetes is serious if not managed properly and could lead to serious complications and risk to life.

DIABETICS CAN’T EAT SUGAR Diabetes is not caused by eating sugar (as all food in the body is eventually converted into sugar), diabetes is caused by either lack of insulin (a hormone which lowers sugar in the body) or reduced effectiveness of the circulating insulin due to inactivity, obesity or both. Diabetics can eat all foods provided it is healthy and balanced

’SEVERE’ DIABETES Just like lifestyle (eating less and walking more), and tablets, insulin is just another modality for managing diabetes. The underlying disease and its consequences remain the same regardless of the treatment employed

DIABETICS NEED A LOT OF ‘GOOD VITAMINS’ Here the commercial interests come into play. Diabetics like the rest of us need a balanced healthy diet and only if specific deficiency identified require vitamin therapy. There is no need for routine prescription of these drugs

COLDS AND OTHER ILLNESSES Not true, if you are managed properly there is no difference in the incidence of any common disease. It is advisable to get flu jabs etc because any infection would result in high sugars.

DIABETICS CAN’T EAT FRUIT Fruit is an excellent choice, with low glycaemic index, enriched with vitamins and antioxidants and should form part of a healthy balanced diet taken by diabetics