Myth Busting

I’ve been thinking about my Type 1 Diabetes lately. Probably because I have to deal with it a lot. And by “a lot” I mean absolutely all the time. So maybe that’s why.  Also I’m preparing paperwork and bracing myself for a fight with the insurance company when it comes time to get my new insulin pump in November (Like I’m asking for an elective nose job or something).  This new pump/CGM combo I’m pining after has a closed loop system. Basically, it’s the closest you can get to have a real, functioning pancreas.

Me want it.

I don’t talk much about my T1. I’m really open about it if people have questions, but I don’t bring it up myself. After twenty years (wow, seriously?) managing my T1 is just part of my life and while I’d prefer to not have it, it’s as normal and watching TV or taking pictures. If watching TV and taking pictures resulted in horrible side effects on the regular.

I’m realizing that to others, T1 is a bit of a mystery, so, I’m sharing some insight. If you’re curious, or want a break form thinking about the horrific state of the country right now, read on.

I stole the following Top 10 7 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes from a blog called The Diabetic Journey (my list of Words/Phrases I Despise includes journey, nourish, woke, and reach out, but that’s a blog entry for another time). Since this list is succinct and accurate, and I’m too lazy to make my own, I’m just copy-and-pasting. My thoughts are added in purple.

Top 7 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes  Type 1 Diabetes is one of the most misunderstood diseases, and it accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes cases. Not many people understand the complexity or severity unless personally affected by it. Much of the stigma surrounding diabetes is brought on by myths and misconceptions. But as the prevalence is increasing worldwide, it’s important to debunk many of these myths and share the facts about Type 1 Diabetes.

MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. There is no known cause but it’s believed that genes and environmental factors play a role.  My doctors believe that my “environmental factor” was a severe flu. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but just the same, get your flu shots, people.

MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes can be cured with diet and exercise –

FACT: There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes (YET). Yes, diet and exercise is beneficial for anyone including those managing diabetes, but it can not treat nor reverse it. Exercising does increase a Type 1’s insulin sensitivity as well as bringing down or burning off sugar in your blood. When I go to workout, for example, I make sure my sugar levels are high enough that I won’t go hypoglycemic in the middle of a work out. I need some fuel to burn off.

MYTH: Sugar is off limits with Type 1 Diabetes –

FACT: People with Type 1 Diabetes are not limited to what they can eat. Insulin is administered to cover the carbs or sugar they eat. Too much sugar is bad for everyone, but moderation is key. Sugar is also needed and life-saving for diabetics with low blood sugar. I’m really lucky in that I am not surrounded by people who meddle in my self-care. I never hear “Should you be eating that?” But this Myth about sugar being off-limits is a BIG one. People simply don’t realize that it’s not true. Also, did you know that carbs turn into sugar as your body metabolizes it? Yup. So we Type 1 Diabadasses have to calculate for carbs as well. Another fun fact – if you know someone who has a sugar drop, avoid giving them candy bars or anything high in fat. Fat slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, which leaves your freaking out diabetic friend hanging on in some serious discomfort for much longer than necessary. Go for a small glass of juice or a spoonful or two of honey. 

MYTH: You won’t get Type 1 Diabetes if you live a healthy and active lifestyle –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by ones’ lifestyle choices. Diet, activity level, and weight have no effect with the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.

MYTH: If a Type 1 Diabetics blood sugar is low or high then it’s their fault –

FACT: A low or high blood sugar can happen for many reasons – (insulin, exercise, illness, stress, hormones, etc.) There is no fault, just the nature of the disease at hand. We T1s have a hard time remembering this, I think. Every time we check our sugars, we judge ourselves and feel a sense of failure if our numbers don’t look right. Nothing like being graded multiple times a day!

 

MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes shouldn’t have children –

FACT: Women with Type 1 Diabetes who manage their diabetes well during pregnancy can give birth to healthy babies. I know quite a few who’ve done it! We’re no longer in the era of Steel Magnolias, thank Science!

MYTH: Adults can’t get Type 1 Diabetes –

FACT: Type 1 Diabetes does not discriminate – it affects babies, children, teens, and adults. While type 1 diabetes usually develops in children or adolescents, diagnosis as an adult does happen. Which is why the name Type 1 Diabetes no longer goes by “Juvenile Diabetes”.

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