There are many myths about being a Type 1 diabetic. Here are four of the more common ones that I have heard several times since Luke’s diagnosis.
Myth #1: A Type 1 diabetic got diabetes because he ate too much sugar.
Eating sugar has absolutely nothing to do with getting Type 1. Type 1 happens when the white blood cells attack the insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas. Insulin is what the body uses to break down carbohydrates. After attacking the beta cells so much, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Therefore, artificial insulin is required in order to break down the carbs and, in all reality, live.
Myth #2: People with Type 1 diabetes cannot eat sugary things.
A T1D can eat anything that a non-diabetic person can eat. The only difference is that when a non-T1 person eats a cookie, his pancreas breaks it down for him. When a T1 person eats a cookie, he has to inject insulin so that the cookie can be broken down. Luke often chooses not to eat a lot of carbs because lots of carbs aren’t good for him… or anyone for that matter.
Myth #3: People with Type 1 Diabetes can’t participate in sports or other high-energy activities.
Just like eating, anyone with T1 can do anything they want! Luke participated in a kids triathlon just a couple of weeks after his diagnosis. He says he wants to do it again this year. He is also active on the swim team and participates in swim club in the off-season. He’s constantly walking the dog and scootering around the yard, as well. Being so active can cause challenges with regulating blood sugar, but it can be done! Luke just eats a half of a peanut butter sandwich before he starts running or swimming. So far, it works for us!
Myth #4: (Fill in the blank) can cure your diabetes!
No. No, it can’t. There is no drink, pill, powder, oil or food that will cure Type 1 Diabetes. If there was, the person who discovered it would be a millionaire and my kid, along with thousands of others, would no longer have Type 1 Diabetes. Stay tuned for my summer blog where I will share some of the amazing research by JDRF!