Debunking 3 myths about diabetes | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News

Have you ever heard that people living with diabetes can’t eat or drink anything with sugar?

Well, that’s not true.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness lists sugar and starch as a source of energy that everyone, including people with diabetes, needs in their daily diet.

“Persons with diabetes need to eat a healthy diet that is balanced, which can include sugar and starch in moderation,” according to the ministry’s Non-communicable Disease and Injury Prevention and Control website.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes, often referred to as ‘sugar’ in Jamaica, is a chronic condition in which blood sugar levels are high. The hormone insulin, which is made in the pancreas, is essential for storing glucose (sugar) from digested food. In diabetics, the body stops producing insulin or cannot use it properly, causing high blood glucose levels or hyperglycaemia.

The chronic disease is a potentially life-threatening illness and is the second-leading cause of death for Jamaicans under 70 years old.

As diabetes takes centre stage in November for Diabetes Awareness Month, Loop News will keep you in the know throughout the month by exploring the chronic disease that the World Health Organization has described as one of the world’s most challenging public health problems.

But first, let’s dispel two other myths about diabetes.

Myth: Only adults can get type 2 diabetes.

Fact: While it is true that people can develop type 2 diabetes as they get older, in recent years, more and more children and adolescents have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because of an increase in overweight and obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and decreased physical activity in this age group.

Myth: If you are already at risk of getting diabetes, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

Fact: Changing your lifestyle – healthy eating, increased physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, regular check-ups – can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in people who have risk factors. This is also true for individuals with pre-diabetes.

Some information provided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness