In Part 2 of our series on Diabesity we explore some of the most common misconceptions
Myth No.1 Diabetes is geneticExperts have led us to believe that Type 2 Diabetes is a genetic disorder, in actual fact, it is triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors. If Diabetes is genetic, how did the number of people in the world with diabetes go from 35 million to 240 million from 1983 to 2008? Genes change only 0.2 percent every 20,000 years, our environment is barely recognisable when compared to 100 years ago.
Myth No.2 Diabetes is not reversibleDiabetes, especially if it is caught early, treated with major lifestyle changes and occasionally with medications, is absolutely reversible. The problem is that diabetes is not caught early enough. Doctors usually only see patients with full-blown diabetes because they focus on fasting blood-sugar levels instead of insulin levels.
Myth No.3 Pre-diabetes isn’t a problem until it turns into full-blown diabetesDiabetes is a deadly disease, and is the cause of our biggest killers - heart attacks, cancer, dementia and more. Pre-diabetes is an earlier stage of diabesity that carries with it nearly all the risks of diabetes.
Myth No.4 If you start taking insulin, there is no going backInsulin treatment in diabetes is a slippery slope, because increased insulin dosage often leads to weight gain, higher blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. Remember, insulin is a fat-storage hormone that also drives appetite and inflammation. Blood sugar improves, but overall risk of heart disease does not. Insulin should be the last resort in managing diabetes. If you have to be on insulin, use the lowest dose possible. With aggressive lifestyle and dietary changes, you can, under your doctor’s supervision, reverse diabetes and even stop insulin therapy altogether.
Myth No.5 Lowering blood sugar with medication prevents death and heart attacks in diabeticsIt’s time to give up on the hope that a magic pill will fix our problems. Recent large trials in the New England Journal of Medicine have confirmed that by treating risk factors with drugs, we may not only be ineffective in preventing heart attacks, diabetes and death, but we may also be causing harm by ignoring the root causes of disease. When used correctly, lifestyle changes are often the best medicine, and they are the most important factor in reversing this global health crisis. As we work through this series we’ll be dispelling a number of myths about diabesity.
You’ll learn that:
- Obesity isn’t as simple as eating too much and not exercising enough
- Diabetes isn’t always progressive, and can be reversed in many people
- Diabetes isn’t caused by eating too many carbohydrates
- A fasting blood sugar of 95 mg/dL and Hb1Ac of 5.5% isn’t “normal”
- Thin people can get type 2 diabetes