MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF TYPE ONE DIABETES
Hey guys. So, recently I was in a new work situation where I found myself telling at least one person everyday that I was a type one diabetic and along with this usually comes with at least one question or comment. Normally, it’s along the lines of ‘make sure you take enough breaks’ or ‘just eat whenever you need to’. But then you get to know the ones...the ones where you find your eyes rolling…yeah. As type ones, most of us have heard or been asked enough questions about type one to write a book..or 3. But, it’s a great opportunity for us to educate people on type one diabetes because we all know it can be very confusing. I mean, I’ve been diagnosed 12 years and most things still confuse me! So, in this post I’m going to share my top 6 myths and misconceptions I have been asked, how I respond and what I wish people knew about type one diabetes instead.
Diabetes type 1 and sugar
"Hey Cally, did you get Diabetes from eating too much sugar as a child?’ or ‘So, will I get diabetes if I eat loads of sugar’ or ‘Can you even eat sugar’?"
Firstly, no. Comments like this are probably one of the most common for me, I cannot count the amount of times that I’ve heard something like this! There is a big stigma around T1D being linked with eating too much sugar but this couldn’t be more wrong. T1Ds is an autoimmune condition, where the body attacks the cells within your pancreas that make insulin, there is no link to diet or lifestyle, it just happens!1
Can Type 1 Diabetes be cured?
"Diabetes can be cured if you just eat healthier, exercise or eat excessive amounts of cinnamon?"
This one is definitely one of my favourites and gives me a good giggle! I think every T1D has heard the story of their friends Cousins Granddads’ Brother…who had T1Ds but started exercising and only eating vegetables and managed to reverse their diabetes. Hooray! If it were only that simple, hay? Unfortunately, there is no cure for T1Ds, although there are lots of scientists out there trying their best (we appreciate you). A common thought is that insulin is a cure; however it is only a treatment that allows us as T1Ds to try and live as ‘normally’ as possible.
Good and bad Diabetes
"Do you have the good or bad type of Diabetes?"
I do not know what this ‘good’ diabetes is but it sounds a lot nicer than the one I have, can I swap mine please? No…okay. There is only one type of T1Ds and whether it is good or bad, for me all depends on the day I am having and how I choose to view my diabetes. But, that depends on a whole list of things like…how I am feeling in myself, how my day at work has been, what I have eaten, how much I had slept the night before, number of hypos or hypers I have had that particular day and on and on and on. But even though these are all factors, it is essentially about how I choose to view my diabetes and I think that trying to stay positive, even when it feel really difficult is key.
Insulin Pump therapy
"So your pump just does everything for you?"
OH MY GOODNESS…I WISH! I get this a lot from people when they find out I am on a pump, from people with and without T1D. In all honesty though, this is something I thought when I wanted to go onto a pump therapy (I admit it okay ha)! Although they are amazing pieces of tech they can also be very complicated to get used to at first. They cannot do everything for you but they have a lot of functions that make T1 life for me a lot easier. A favourite of mine is the bolus calculator; you input the carbohydrates and glucose levels into the pump and BOOM it works out your insulin bolus for you…no more working out maths calculations in my head bonus.
"You can only get Type one Diabetes as a child."
This is a very common misconception of T1Ds but actually T1D can be developed by anyone at any age. However, it is more common to be diagnosed as a child or teenager which can lead to adults being misdiagnosed with developing T2D instead. There are also different forms of T1Ds such as latent autoimmune diabetes (LADA) which adults may develop where the onset is slower (Diabetes.co.uk has some great information on LADA)2.
Insulin and Hypos
"If you are hypo I should give you insulin right?"
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. NOPE. NO WAY. NO. NO. NO. STEP AWAY FROM THE INSULIN. This is a very serious misconception of T1Ds because injecting a T1D with insulin when they are hypo can be life threatening. Insulin is a hormone that essentially supports the body to use the glucose for energy which lowers the glucose levels.3 So, for someone with already low glucose levels, they do not need insulin they need sugar!!.
Type one diabetics are awesome.
I know what you are thinking…’you said there would be 6 myths and misconceptions’. Well this one is not a myth because it is true. All T1Ds are awesome…it’s a fact.
Thanks for taking the time for reading guys.
See you next time!
Published on 12th December 2019.
By Cally Roberts
I am 22 years old and have been a type one for 12 years. I am currently at University where I am training to become a Children’s Nurse, and one day I hope to become a specialist diabetes nurse and help and support others like myself.
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