Common myths about diabetes


Diabetes mellitus is a universal health problem with a global prevalence of 1.3%. India is known as the “Diabetes capital of the world” as it harbours the largest number of diabetes patients. There is lack of awareness about the existing interventions for preventing diabetes and for the management of the complications. One of the barriers in the way of seeking health care advice is the misconception about the disease, which revolves around all the aspects of diabetes, which include its prevention, control and treatment.

Misconceptions you need to come out off

The commonest misconceptions were “Diabetes, cured by herbal treatment” (46.6%) and “Bitter foods reduce the elevated blood sugar levels” (46.6%). The misconception, “The treatment should be stopped if the diabetes is controlled for few months” significantly decreased with advancing age. There were no significant differences between females and males when the various misconceptions, compared. The commonest misconception among females,  “Bitter foods reduce the elevated blood sugar levels” (49.4%) and among males, it was “Diabetes, cured by herbal treatment” (47.9%). When the misconceptions were compared, it was found that, significant differences between the subjects who, belonged to different religions.


It is necessary for the health service providers to know what people think about a disease and its prevention and management, as misconceptions act as a barrier for the management and prevention of a disease. Diabetes, being asymptomatic most of the times, does not interfere with the daily routine and the patients ignore the condition until they develop some complications.

What are the common myths about diabetes and the facts?

There are a number of myths about diabetes that are all too commonly reported as facts. These misrepresentations of diabetes can sometimes be harmful and lead to an unfair stigma around the condition. Diabetes information is widely available, both from healthcare professionals and the Internet, but not all of it is true. It can be hard to know what is accurate, so this page aims to highlight the top ten of the most common diabetes myths.

As well as diabetes myths — you may be, interested in these diabetes facts

  • Diabetes is not a big deal –

If left unchecked, diabetes — cause serious complications and premature death. It is the eighth leading cause of death among adults. Having diabetes nearly doubles your chances of having a heart attack. Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, lower limb amputation, and several other long-term consequences that impact significantly on the quality of life.

  • People with diabetes must follow a special diet –

People with diabetes benefit from the same healthy diet that is good for everyone else: they, should include plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits in their diet, avoid trans-fats, and limit the amount of saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, especially sugar.

  • “Diabetes-friendly” and “sugar-free” food is good for you –

Sugar-free food often contains plenty of calories and fats, and even carbohydrates. Hence, one should always check the nutrition labels closely. Remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”.

  • Exercise always leads to weight loss –

Exercise need not always lead to weight loss. When one exercises, one may shed fat but may gain muscle, which also has weight. Moreover, you obtain important health benefits from exercise even if you do not lose any weight, because exercise improves insulin sensitivity, reduces blood pressure and lipid levels, and helps to prevent heart attacks. Hence, one may not notice the health benefits of exercise just by measuring the weight on the weighing scale.


  • Type 2 diabetes is mild –

This diabetes myth is widely, repeated but of course it isn’t true. No form of diabetes is mild. If type 2 diabetes is poorly, managed it can lead to serious (even life-threatening) complications. Good control of diabetes can significantly decrease the risk of complications but this doesn’t mean the condition itself is not serious.

  • People with diabetes should only eat diabetic food –

Diabetic food is one of the most common myths of the last ten years. The label ‘diabetic’ is often, used on sweets foods. Often sugar alcohols, or other sweeteners, will be used instead of sugar. Diabetic food will often still affect blood glucose levels, is expensive, and may also cause adverse side effects.

Diabetes – silent killer

It is also, known as a “silent killer”, as most often, the symptoms of diabetes — absent, till the patients present with complications. Asians develop diabetes at comparatively younger ages, thus providing sufficient time for the development of the complications like neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy and peripheral vascular atherosclerosis, ultimately resulting in higher morbidities and mortalities. Knowledge is the greatest weapon to fight against diabetes. The information which is related to the management can help people in assessing their risk of developing the complications and it can motivate them to seek proper treatment and care


The misconceptions regarding the diabetes management in the general population, irrespective of the education and particularly among the Muslim community, were widespread. A majority of these misconceptions were diet and drug related.

One of the barriers in the way of seeking health care advice is the misconceptions about the disease, which revolve around all the aspects of diabetes, which include its prevention, control and treatment. Misconceptions are false beliefs which result from a lack of awareness. Studies have indicated that misconceptions and inadequate knowledge are the significant barriers in the way of a proper management of diabetes.

Leave a Reply