With so many myths and opinions in the health field, let's look at the facts about diabetes:
There are two main types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes can start at any age, but is usually found in children or young adults.
Nothing can be done to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes.
It is common in the elderly but may also occur in children and teenagers who are overweight, not sporting and have a type 2 diabetes family.
Type 1 diabetes is not caused by too many sweets or the wrong diet.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person's white blood cells mistakenly attack parts of the pancreas that produce insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes need insulin to survive.
They require multiple injections with an insulin daily or an insulin pump.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can still make insulin, but either the pancreas is not making enough insulin or the insulin is not working properly.
These people may take pills that make their pancreas work harder, but most people with type 2 diabetes will also use insulin.
Managing diabetes is not easy.
People with type 1 diabetes should match their insulin with the carbohydrates they eat.
They should adjust their dose based on their current blood sugar for exercise, lack of sleep, stress and illness.
These are some of the factors that affect blood sugar levels.
People with type 1 diabetes take insulin for the carbohydrates they eat.
Carbohydrates include cereals (bread, pasta, dads), fruits, milk, starchy vegetables (pumpkin, corn, potatoes), sweets and sugar.
Serving sizes should be controlled in terms of weight, but all of these foods can be used as part of a healthy eating plan.
People with type 1 diabetes can occasionally enjoy cake, chocolate, chips and sweets because they can give insulin to it.
Sometimes people with diabetes can have low blood sugar.
They can feel shaken, confused, hungry and weak.
This means you MUST eat or drink something that contains sugar to increase your blood sugar level, e.g. regularly coke, jelly beans or sugar water.
If you see someone with diabetes act like this, ask them if they need help and ask them to test their blood sugar.
People with type 2 diabetes take pills to control their diabetes and most people also use insulin.
Part of managing type 2 diabetes also involves a healthy lifestyle – a healthy, balanced diet, being active for 150 minutes a week, not smoking, drinking moderate alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight.
People with diabetes who carefully control their blood sugars can live as long as people without diabetes.
They can live a fulfilling life, have a career, get married, have children, play sports, travel and be successful.