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Diabetes, 10 false beliefs about the pathology from which 5 million Italians suffer

Since 1991, November 14th has been celebrated World Diabetes Day. When we talk about diabetes we are talking about a complex disease that encompasses different types, including for example type 1 diabetes – characterized by the total absence of insulin secretion – once known as juvenile diabetes precisely because it appears mainly in children and young people. There is also the type 2 diabetes, determined by a reduced sensitivity of the organism to the insulin normally produced by the target tissues (liver, muscle and adipose tissue) and by a reduced secretion of insulin by the pancreas, which instead tends to appear in adults. With an ever-increasing prevalence, diabetes is identified by the World Health Organization as global priority for all health systems. According to the latest data from the International Diabetes Federation, in the world there are more than half a billion people living with diabetes. In Italy it is estimated that they are almost five millionwhile one million do not know they have diabetes and around 4 million are at high risk of developing it.

Therefore, one is needed correct information. With the aim of clarifying the most well-known false myths about diabetes, an awareness campaign was launched on the occasion of World Day. Theras, which from 6 to November involves some of the main Italian cities, populating them with “correct” phrases about the most well-known prejudices. Not only that: by clicking https://falsimitidiabete.contheras.it or by searching on social media #FalsiDiabetesMythsthe network will be updated with all the personal false beliefs that users want to write as well as those of some influencers of this Community, who will contribute to increasing attention on the topic.

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“Is critical dismantle the falsehoods surrounding diabetes and promote deeper understanding to reduce stigma and improve patients’ quality of life – he explains Riccardo Candido, president of the Diabetes Doctors Association – offering access to accurate information. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects many aspects of life and “fake news” can shape perceptions and induce wrong behaviors that can also have serious consequences for health.”

1. Eating sugar causes diabetes / False

«Diabetes is not caused by an excess of sugars but by an absolute lack of insulin in the case of type 1 diabetes and by a reduced production of insulin associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. This hormone normally guarantees that the blood sugar level is always the same, regardless of the amount of sweets ingested. The excessive consumption of animal fats (saturated) and to a lesser extent theexcess of simple sugars (sweets) can contribute to weight gain which in turn induces insulin resistance and the onset of type 2 diabetes.”

2. Diabetes is transmitted only by inheritance / False

«In both of the most frequent forms of diabetes, one is inherited genetic predisposition to develop the disease. Genetic predisposition alone is not enough to get diabetes. Of course, familiarity matters but having a father or grandmother with diabetes does not mean that we will definitely get sick, just as not having any sick person in the family cannot give us the certainty of avoiding the onset of this disease, unless we observe a healthy lifestyle, in the case of type 2 diabetes.”

3. People with diabetes cannot consume carbohydrates / False

«People with diabetes must limit simple sugars (sweets) to avoid overweight or obesity, as well as people without diabetes, because for them these are the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes. You don’t necessarily have to give up sweets, if consumed in special occasions and following the right precautions for example skipping the first course it can be used. However, it is essential that the person with diabetes consumes complex carbohydrates which should represent approximately 45-60% of total daily calories. Better to prefer them starches rich in fibresuch as wholemeal bread and pasta or legumes.”

4. Only older people can develop diabetes / False

«Type 1 diabetes develops more frequently in young people (0-18 years) but can occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes is age-related and its prevalence increases with age, so much so that in the past it was called “elderly” diabetes. In reality, with the significant increase in overweight and obesity in young people, particularly in adolescents, Type 2 diabetes is starting to appear at increasingly earlier ages».

5. Insulin is only used for those with severe diabetes / False

«Insulin represents the essential treatment for type 1 diabetes from the beginning. Others are used in type 2 diabetes non-insulin therapies therefore the administration of insulin is postponed as much as possible in this form of diabetes. However, there may be various moments in the history of a person with type 2 diabetes in which insulin is useful, such as when faced with metabolic decompensation, during hospitalization, in the presence of an acute illness or on the occasion of surgical interventions. Relying on diabetes centers to find out if and when to start treatment with insulin is the safest advice.”

6. Those with diabetes cannot eat fruit, except green apples / False

«Fruit should be consumed regularly even by people with diabetes. I am indicated two servings of fruit a day if possible away from meals. We must finally dispel the “false myth” according to which those with diabetes should only eat green apples. Those with diabetes can eat all types of fruit by varying the portions depending on the type of fruit and its sugar content. It is only recommended to limit the consumption of certain types of fruit, such as bananas, figs, grapes, persimmons and chestnuts which have a higher sugar content for the same weight.”

7. People with type 1 diabetes can do without insulin / False

«Insulin is absolutely necessary for those who are no longer able to produce this hormone as is the case with people with type 1 diabetes. Suspension of insulin administration to type 1 diabetes patients can lead to coma and death. This false myth is also linked to the rampant need to believe in all-natural therapies. It is very dangerous, because the desire to get rid of insulin injections is always strong in diabetes patients. Unfortunately, however, it represents an illusion with a high risk of mortality.”

8. Having gestational diabetes means having it forever / False

«Gestational diabetes is an increase in blood sugar that occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy in women at risk and which recognizes a causal mechanism similar to that of type 2 diabetes being linked to insulin resistance. This form of diabetes resolves with childbirth but women who have had gestational diabetes remain at very high risk of develop type 2 diabetes over the years if they don’t follow a balanced diet, don’t carry out physical activity and don’t keep their body weight under control.”

9. Those with diabetes must always be on a diet / False

«Those who suffer from this disease must not eat “special foods” but must follow a balanced diet as all people should do to stay healthy. A balanced diet means reducing simple sugars (sweets and sugary drinks) to a minimum, favoring complex carbohydrates (starches rich in fibre, such as wholemeal bread and pasta, cereals and legumes). The diet of people with diabetes should also be low in animal fats and rich in fruit and vegetables.”

10. Those with type 1 diabetes cannot do sports / False

«Physical activity is a excellent tool for prevention and treatment of diabetes. Even in type 1 diabetes, physical activity is strongly recommended not only as a tool for improving glycemic trends but also for socializing and improving the quality of life. The person with type 1 diabetes only needs to be educated and trained in the management of insulin therapy and carbohydrates during physical activity to avoid hypoglycemia.”

More stories by Vanity Fair that may interest you

World Diabetes Day: the alarm bells that signal the onset of the disease in children

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Source: Vanity Fair

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