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Diabetes myths debunked

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Diabetes myths debunked:

I CAN’T BE STYLISH WITH DIABETES: This could not be further from the truth. Yes, we PWD have lots to carry, but thankfully we have companies like @myabetic to help keep things cute and trendy. My Bandy Diabetes Backpack is my fav diabetes accessory. What’s yours?

INSULIN PUMPS ARE TOO COMPLICATED: No. If you can work your phone, you can work a pump. If you can work an ATM, you can work a pump. If you can work your TV remove, you can work a pump. If you can work your laptop, you can work a pump.

PEOPLE WILL THINK IM STRANGE OR UGLY BECAUSE OF MY DIABETES: Umm, have you seen Nick Jonas? Total Babe! In my experience, the more open I am with people about my diabetes, the more people realize that I have nothing to hide. People are afraid and judgmental of things they don’t understand. Unfortunately, that is human nature. The more we educate, the more accepting people will be. There is a lot of beauty in that.

PUMPS/CGMS ARE TOO FRAGILE FOR MY ACTIVE LIFESTYLE: I hear this all the time and frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. Lots of people who wear these devices who live much more active lives than you do. Yes, It’s true. I promise, you can figure it out! When I was in college, I played every volleyball game with my insulin pump tucked into my spandex. I fell on it multiple times. Yes, it hurt a little, no it did not break.

MY BLOOD GLUCOSE IS LOW BECAUSE I SKIPPED BFAST/LUNCH/DINNER: No. If you are on the correct dose of basal insulin, you should be able to skip meals without experiencing low or high BGs. Long-acting insulin/pump basal rates are meant to be used to keep BGs stable. Rapid-acting boluses are meant to cover food and bring down high BGs. If your BG consistently drops when meals are skipped, then talk with your clinician about adjusting your basal rate/long-acting dose, you are likely on too much!

I CAN’T SLEEP IN: this myth sort of ties into the concept above. If you can’t sleep in because your blood glucose will drop too low, then that is just like the whole skipping bfast idea mentioned above. You are on too much basal insulin. If you feel you can’t sleep in because you are supposed to take your long-acting at 6am every day, then consider switching to Toujeo or Tresiba which allow for more flexible dosing times.

HYPOGLYCEMIA IS NORMAL: With all the tech available nowadays, PWD can go days, even weeks without having a hypo event. It’s all about finding the right dosing/technology for YOU. My #Minimed670G with auto mode has made a world of difference in preventing my lows and allowing for a more flexible lifestyle. The Minimed 670G auto adjusts my insulin based on my current CGM value. Therefore, my insulin suspends when a low is predicted to occur. I highly recommend looking into this technology if you haven’t already. This effective auto suspension is also available in Tandem insulin pumps (Basal IQ and Control IQ).

I CAN’T BE SPONTANEOUS WITH DIABETES: This may have been true 20 years ago, but current diabetes therapy should allow for spontaneity within reason. It’s impossible to plan everything and in my opinion being on a pump allows for much more spontaneity, which is why I use it! Consider this, if I decide to stray from my usual exercise plan and do a 3am workout (eww) instead of a 5pm workout, I can simply set a temp basal/target to reduce my total circulating blood insulin and therefore my risk of hypoglycemia. This cannot be done with MDI because you can’t reduce insulin that you’ve already injected, but you can account for potential hypoglycemia by supplementing with carbohydrates. Trust me, you can NOT care if your plans change.

I CAN’T EAT CARBS: Yes, you can! Hopefully, I am not the first person to tell you this. Every person on basal/bolus insulin should be using an insulin:carbohydrate ratio. This allows for more flexible eating, dosing, and for better BG control. Equally as important to carb counting is bolus timing. Rapid-acting insulin needs to be given 15-20 min before meals. This is because it takes about that much time for the insulin to begin working. This will allow for a flatter profile. It takes work and some experimenting, but I promise, it can be done!

I CAN’T BE NORMAL WITH DIABETES: What is normal anyway? Normal is YOUR life! You can call it normal if you’d like, but I prefer to call my life FUN, EXCITING, SPONTANEOUS, FULFILLING, ACTIVE, or AMAZING. Anything but normal…Puhlease! Yes, diabetes is hard, and I often must put in more effort to manage the complexity it all brings, but I try to embrace it as best I can. Once you do this, you wont care about being normal and it’s liberating!

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