Can Type 1 Diabetics Donate Blood? Debunking Diabetes Myths
Being diagnosed with diabetes has a learning curve, but you should know what’s true and what’s not when it comes to your health. There are myths everywhere, and myths surrounding diabetes are as common as any other myth source.
To understand what’s true and what’s false we have created the following guide to help debunk myths such as can type 1 diabetics donate blood? Keep reading below to find the answers to the most common diabetic myths.
What Are Myths and Why Do They Become Popular
A myth is a statement that is believed to be true but isn’t. Myths come about due to someone thinking a statement is true and then relaying it to more people. Eventually, the myth can outshine the truth and people will believe it without looking up the facts.
Myths revolving around diabetes are common and can be fatal to one’s health. These false statements become popular due to people believing statements blindly and with the help of social media, the spreading of these myths can reach a large audience fast. For those who suffer from any type of diabetes, it’s important to know the facts and to debunk any myths.
Myth: Metformin is Unsafe for Those with Type 2 Diabetes
Metformin is a newer drug on the market. A quick Google search will result in pages upon pages telling you that Metformin is bad for those with type 2 diabetes and it can damage your kidneys, liver, and heart.
Truth: Metformin Can Help Lower Glucose Levels
For those who struggle with type 2 diabetes, Metformin can be helpful. Those who have insulin resistance that leads to the body’s blood sugar levels to rise and forces the pancreas to produce more insulin can benefit from this drug.
Metformin helps to lower blood sugar in more ways than one. It works primarily by decreasing insulin resistance. In response to the drug damaging organs, there is no evidence or hard data to back this up. Metformin has been available for over 30 years and no data has been collected in regards to Metformin damaging organs.
Myth: Sugar-free Foods are Friendly
Everywhere you look on the market there is advertising for sugar-free foods. For someone with diabetes, this may seem like a great alternative to foods with real cane sugar.
Truth: Sugar-free is One of the Most Misleading Terms
When you see sugar-free on a package this may mean that the product doesn’t contain any added sugars. A quick look at the back of the product to read its nutrition label will show that it does contain sugar in the form of carbohydrates.
Since the term sugar-free isn’t standardized, it can have a different meaning from product to product and company to company. Your diabetes type 1 support group can help you figure out which foods aren’t good and which ones are. They can even help teach you how to look and read nutrition labels.
Myth: Diabetes Is Not the Root Cause of Other Medical Issues
Those who have diabetes may have heard the stories of others with the same disease losing limbs or going blind. Since it has yet to happen to them, they may think that diabetes is not a root cause of other medical issues.
Truth: Diabetes Can Lead to Other Medical Issues
The truth is that diabetes can be a cause of medical issues such as kidney failure, limb amputation, and blindness. If your diabetes is uncontrolled, it can lead to these complications and even affect every organ in the body.
The key to avoiding these medical issues is prevention. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you should make it a priority to get your blood sugar under control and maintaining it. If you do this, your chance of other complications goes down greatly.
Myth: Treatment for Diabetes is the Same For Every Patient
After becoming diagnosed it may see like any other disease and doctors have an overall treatment for each person. This isn’t the case, diabetes is unique for every patient.
Truth: Treatments Vary From Person to Person
Diabetes is unique for every person and changes from case to case. This is why the management of diabetes is individualized.
The type 1 diabetes care plan always involves insulin. The amount of insulin and timing of dosage varies from patient to patient. Your doctor will help develop a schedule and dosage that is best for you.
The type 2 diabetes care is vaster since there are more medical options. Your doctor will review your preexisting medical history and determine a care plan that best suits your needs. They will make sure that the care plan is safe for any other medical issues you may have.
Myth: I Can’t Donate Blood Because I Have Diabetes
Those who are diagnosed with diabetes believe they cannot donate blood. This idea comes from the idea that the influx of blood sugar levels is not accepted.
Truth: You Can Donate
The truth is that people with diabetes can donate blood, but some factors can defer you from donating.
Blood sugar levels are a big one. If you are within your target range set by your doctor and are in good health then you can donate. If your sugar levels are not in range or you are having trouble keeping them in your target range, you can’t donate blood.
Blood with too much sugar doesn’t store well and may go bad by the time it’s needed. It’s also a good idea to touch base with your doctor before donating or even if you’re interested in donating.
Insulin is another factor that can make or break a blood donation. If you have used bovine-derived insulin at any point in time since the 1980s you can’t donate. This is due to the concern around mad cow’s disease and how it can be transferred during blood transfusions.
There is a running list of medications that deter you from donating. It’s a good idea to review this list when you are considering giving blood. Keep in mind that not all diabetic medications are on this list and you have a chance of donating.
It doesn’t matter what type of diabetes you have. As long as your sugar is kept within the target range and you aren’t taking any banned medications you should be able to donate.
Myth: There is Only Type 1 and Type 2
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common talked about types of diabetes. This doesn’t mean they are the only types that can come with the disease.
Truth: Many Types Aren’t Recognized
As stated before type 1 and type 2 are the most recognized and talked about types, putting the image out that they are the only variants of the disease.
A recent study has proposed that there are 5 types. The first type is what we know as type 1, but the other 4 have expanded and honed in on type 2. In the research the types are known as clusters:
Cluster 1 is what we know as type 1 diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease classified by an insulin deficiency. It is also recognized by the presence of antibodies in the blood.
Those with cluster 2 have severe insulin-deficient diabetes. This only occurs in young patients with an insulin deficiency, no autoantibodies, and poor metabolism.
Cluster 3 is when those diagnosed suffer from severe insulin-resistant diabetes. This is recognized by the sever resistance to insulin and a heightened risk of kidney disease.
This cluster correlates to obesity-related diabetes. It is most common in those considered medically obese.
Cluster 5 is found in elderly individuals. It’s known as age-related diabetes and is the most common cluster found in test subjects.
Myth: Being Overweight Causes Diabetes
It’s believed that being overweight or obese is one of the main causes of diabetes. Some even think that weight determines what type of diabetes you will get
Truth: Weight Has Nothing to Do with Diabetes
If you gain some weight as the years pass, this doesn’t mean you will develop diabetes. Many people are overweight and have not developed either type of diabetes. Having a body mass index of 25 or higher can be a risk factor, but it’s one of several.
Other risks include:
- being over 45
- lack of physical activity
- family history of the disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- metabolic syndrome
- gestational diabetes
There are many more risk factors, but these are the most common ones that can lead to a diagnosis.
Myth: People Know They Have Diabetes Due to Their Symptoms
Those who have yet to be diagnosed with diabetes believe that they will know they have the disease due to the symptoms. The truth is some symptoms can go unnoticed.
Truth: You May Not Show Outward Signs of Diabetes
Usually, children of young adults that are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will have outward and obvious symptoms. This is due to their bodies producing little or no insulin.
Those who have type 2 diabetes can have few to no symptoms. Type 2 usually occurs later in life has milder symptoms since their bodies are still producing some amount of insulin. Even women who have gestational diabetes may not have signs of the disease.
The best way to know if you have diabetes to get a blood test. A blood test will let your doctor know if you’re producing enough insulin.
Myth: Eating a lot of Sugar Leads to Diabetes
We have all heard it, someone has told you to cut back on the sugar or you will get diabetes. This has been said so much to deter people from eating sugar that it has become one of the top myths surrounding diabetes.
Truth: Eating Sugar Doesn’t Cause Diabetes, But Cutting Back Isn’t a Bad Idea
The truth is that all the food you eat is converted into glucose in your system. Glucose is blood sugar and is energy for your body.
If you have diabetes this means that not enough insulin is being produced to move the blood sugar from cell to cell for energy. If you don’t have diabetes then you are producing enough insulin to provide food to your cells.
If you don’t have diabetes the main problem with eating foods with added sugar is that it can add to your body weight. It does not raise your blood sugar.
The only reason diabetics have raised sugar levels is due to their body not carrying fuel around, so it sits in their blood. It’s not due to the added sugar they ate.
Myth: I have to Eat a Special Diet
It’s believed that once you are diagnosed with diabetes you must eat a special diet. The truth is that diabetics eat what everyone else eats.
Truth: A Healthy Diet is Encouraged But You Don’t Have to Stick to a Strict One
Years ago the American Diabetes Association recommended that those with diabetes eat specific amounts of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. This has changed and now the association does recommend specific amounts anymore.
It’s suggested that those with diabetes get their carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. They should avoid foods high in sodium, sugar, and fats. This may seem like a strict way to eat, but the reality is everyone should be eating like this.
If you need help creating a meal plan, reach out to your doctor. The two of you can come up with a diet or eating habits that fit your health and lifestyle.
Now You Know The Answer to can type 1 diabetics donate blood?
Myths can be misleading, but we have provided the top myths surrounding diabetes and given you the truths. Even if someone asks you, “can type 1 diabetics donate blood?”, you will have the facts to answer.
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