Dispelling the myths of diabetes

Diabetes Week takes place each year in June – this year, it runs from June 11 - 17, 2018. Organised by the health charity Diabetes UK, the event is the time when people come together to share their stories and to raise awareness of diabetes.

This year the aim of Diabetes Week is to make it even easier for people living with the condition to talk about it with their doctor, friends, family and even people they’ve just met.

The charity’s supporters will be sharing their stories of living with diabetes throughout the week. And if you want to have your say too, you can join the conversation on social media (#diabetesweek #talkaboutdiabetes).

The more people understand about the reality of living with diabetes, the better. Like so many other medical conditions, there is a lot of information out there about diabetes – and according to Diabetes UK, not all of it is true.

Here are some of the top myths about diabetes the charity has addressed…

Type 2 diabetes is a mild form of diabetes

There is no such thing as mild diabetes, says Diabetes UK. All forms of diabetes are serious and, if not properly controlled, can lead to serious complications.

People with diabetes can’t eat sugar

If you have diabetes it doesn’t mean you have to follow a strict sugar-free diet. People with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet that’s low in fat, salt and sugar. That means they should still be able to enjoy a wide variety of foods, including some with sugar.

People with diabetes should eat ‘diabetic’ foods

Diabetes UK does not recommend eating ‘diabetic’ foods, including diabetic chocolate, because they still affect your blood glucose levels, they are expensive and they can give you diarrhoea. Instead it says that if you’re going to treat yourself, go for the real thing.

People with diabetes can’t eat grapes, mangoes or bananas

These fruits taste may particularly sweet, but it doesn’t mean you have to avoid them if you have diabetes. Fruit is a healthy food choice as it’s high in fibre, low in fat and full of vitamins and minerals.

People with diabetes can’t exercise

Quite the contrary, if you have diabetes you’re encouraged to stay active as part of a healthy lifestyle. That’s because keeping active may help reduce the risk of complications linked with diabetes, including heart disease. However, always speak to your GP or a member of your diabetes healthcare team before starting any new type of exercise.

People with diabetes can’t cut their own toenails

If you don’t have any difficulties caring for your toenails, there’s absolutely no reason why you should do so just because you have diabetes. Diabetes UK offers this advice:

  • Keep your nails healthy by cutting them to the shape of the end of your toes. Don’t cut them straight across, curved down the sides, or too short.
  • Trim your nails with a pair of nail clippers and use an emery board to file the corners.

If, however, you find looking after your toenails a challenge, speak to your GP or a member of your diabetes healthcare team, or look for a podiatrist who could help.

For more information on looking after yourself with diabetes speak to your local Careway pharmacist, who can offer information on a range of subjects from your diet to your medicines – not forgetting looking after your toes and feet.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.