The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people with diabetes is 422 million worldwide. In the years 1980-2014, the number of people with this disease almost doubled. Despite the high prevalence of the disease, it is often misunderstood. Here are some common misconceptions about diabetes.
1. Diabetes is only a pancreatic disorder
Diabetes affects the pancreas, but should not simply be considered a disease that affects the body from the neck down. If we accept this point of view, we lose the psychological impact of living with this state. And it's big. In addition to the problem of adapting to the diagnosis of long-term health, people with diabetes are more likely to develop depression. There is even a specific form of depression associated with diabetes, known as suffering from diabetes. This happens when a person is struggling to cope with the disease.
Also, diabetes affects your mental abilities. Research suggests that diabetes can affect the ability to think clearly, focus and recall memories.
Diabetes also affects other brain processes, such as weighing food choices. Researchers are also investigating how hormones, such as insulin, seem to regulate dietary choices. These special brain effects, in a system called the midbrain dopamine system, are a potential explanation of why some diabetics find it difficult to follow health advice, no matter how often they are administered.
2. Only in overweight or obese people will develop diabetes
There is a strong relationship between type 2 diabetes and obesity, but that does not mean that all diabetics are overweight or obese. It also does not mean that people who are overweight or obese will develop diabetes.
However, the report on public healthcare in England found that adult obesity in England is five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than adults with normal weight. However, there is still a lot of work to fully understand the relationship between diabetes and obesity. This includes understanding the biological mechanisms that can combine these two.
Type 1 diabetes is not associated with obesity. It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, which means that your own immune system attacks cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. This is a very successful attack; type 1 diabetes is no longer able to produce insulin. There is evidence that type 1 diabetes is genetic, but not all who have diabetes risk genes will develop diabetes. There is also some evidence that type 1 diabetes can be caused by a virus.
3. You must regularly inject insulin
Type 1 diabetics require insulin therapy, but this can be achieved with insulin pumps. These devices reduce the need for regular injections of insulin. Insulin is still delivered with a needle that is attached to a piece of tube and then to the pump, and there are many advantages to this method. One of them is that it is more discreet and diabetics avoid social stigmatization associated with injecting in a public place. Second, it reduces the need to look for different injection sites.
There are a number of options for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes (which develops during pregnancy). This type of diabetes can be treated with lifestyle changes or, at an early stage, can be effectively treated with tablets such as metformin. As diabetics get older or during pregnancy, there may be a need for insulin or a combination of tablets. Patients with diabetes who have difficulty coping with their condition may also receive a medicine, such as bromocriptine, which attacks areas of the brain that help regulate the body's metabolism.
4. Diabetes is easy to manage
There is some evidence that a low calorie diet can restore normal fasting glycaemia in type 2 diabetics, which led to the suggestion that it could be a cure. But there is no evidence that it is permanent and most doctors agree that diabetes (except for gestational diabetes) is for life.
Serious long-term complications of diabetes are limb amputation, loss of vision and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, there is a routine screening test to monitor these aspects of diabetic health. In short, some diabetic complications can kill.
Diabetes is a hidden disease and for many people it is certainly not easy to manage. Counseling and education in the field of a healthy lifestyle are not enough to help everyone, and many of them can not cope with their condition (although some manage successfully, until the disease does not progress and everything changes). Blood sugar is influenced by nutrition, activity, sleep cycles, stress and other hormonal effects. Thus, the symptoms of diabetes are rarely stable.
For most people, diabetes is for life. This is a serious condition that can sometimes be unpredictable and overwhelming. Many people with diabetes report stigmatization of the disease. Some diabetics even have their misunderstandings and prejudices. Therefore, it is important to raise the awareness of the realities of life with diabetes to improve its perception.
Claire Rostron is a senior lecturer at The Open University. The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author.
The article was published in The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.