T1D Facts - Myths busted!
1. T1 is rarer than T2
According to Wikipedia, only 5-10% of all the people living with diabetes have T1D. So that makes us ‘one in a million’, isn’t it?
2. T1 is not a lifestyle disease, T2 is
The carbohydrates in our food are converted into glucose so that they can be used as fuel for the body. The beta cells present in our pancreas produce a hormone called insulin which regulates the levels of glucose in blood. When these beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by our own immune system, the glucose level of blood spikes as there is no insulin available in the pancreas. Such type of diabetes is known as ‘type 1 diabetes’ which is an autoimmune condition. Whereas the type 2 diabetes, commonly known as diabetes or sugar is a metabolic disorder in which the body still produces insulin; but it is unable to utilize it effectively. Even though both types share similar names, they are actually very different from each other.
3. T1D can happen to anyone, of any race, at any age
Many years ago, T1D was known as ‘juvenile diabetes’ as it was commonly found in children. On the contrary, T2D has late onset and can be found in elder people. But nowadays even adults get diagnosed with T1D and children can also develop T2D due to early introduction to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Nick Jonas, an American singer was diagnosed when he was 13. Wasim Akram, the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team was diagnosed at the age of 30. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May was initially misdiagnosed as T2D at 60 while she actually has T1D. Just know that you are not alone!
4. The symptoms of T1D develop fast and be easily mistaken
Unlike T2D, the symptoms of T1D can occur within a few weeks or even days. As there is little awareness about T1D, it could be easily mistreated as common cold, dehydration or urine infection. If left untreated for long periods, it could lead to life threatening diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or even diabetic coma which could lead to death. So it is always a good idea to do some tests that determine the actual type of your diabetes in order to manage it effectively.
5. T1D is not caused because of eating sweets
It is a myth that eating excessive sugar or sweets causes T1D. People living with T1D can eat absolutely anything. They just need to calculate the carb content in their meals as accurately as they can and take a corresponding insulin shot before eating. However, one should always be mindful of what they eat and how much they eat irrespective of their medical condition.
6. T1D cannot be cured
The discovery of insulin by Dr. Frederick Banting is considered as groundbreaking work in the medical history and a boon for people living with T1D. Insulin plays a vital role in managing T1D but it does not reverse this autoimmune condition. It has been almost 98 years after its discovery and we have had no luck so far in finding a cure or to prevent diabetes in the first place.
7. Insulin = Oxygen
Every T1D needs insulin as much as they need oxygen as a person living with T1D is unable to produce insulin due to the autoimmune destruction of their insulin producing beta cells. Type 1 diabetics need to inject insulin 3 to 6 times a day depending on their food intake, exercise routine etc. So insulin is NOT a bad drug, it is a life saver for people living with T1D!
8. T1D cannot be reversed
Surely a healthy diet and regular exercise can help to manage one’s T1D, but they will not help to regenerate the beta cells that are destroyed in some unknown autoimmune reaction that caused T1D in the first place. Never stop injecting insulin by falling for scams that claim to reverse T1D!
9. Not all diabetics are over weight
There is a misconception in society that only obese people are prone to have diabetes. When it comes to T1D, it is not the case. Anybody of any size and weight can have T1D. Never judge a person by their looks. Be kind, you never know their battles.
10. T1s can do anything!
We hear you; living with T1D is exhausting. There are no holidays. Our blood glucose levels are affected by every bite, every walk and every situation. Despite this, we want you to remember that we are here for you. You are not defined by your T1D; you are STRONG and can do ANYTHING you put your mind to!