It's a little strange how these things bother the diabetes community, but they do. Tremendously. There are hundreds of people out there with type 1 diabetes and their parents (especially the parents-lol) who would be at your throats at the mere mention of any incorrect info regarding type 1 diabetes.
Now realize that I don't watch TV or movies, and if I did I would most definitely not be watching Hannah Montana (LOL). But I want to give this as an illustration. There was an episode of of HM that was supposed to come out, called "No sugar sugar".
Yes, supposed to come out. I say that because there is an online forum of parents of children with type 1 diabetes that found an illegal trailer of the episode. They were immediately up in arms. They felt that this episode portrayed many terrible myths about diabetes.
Let's go through some of them:
Firstly, they made it sound as if the boy with diabetes got it as a result of eating too much sugar. Which, of course, he didn't. Scientists still don't know what causes type 1 diabetes, but over consumption of sugar is not even among their choices. (On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency might be....omg.) the parents felt this may hurt their children, as people will accuse them of causing their own diabetes. Makes sense, IMO.
The more important one was this: they kept stressing the importance of not eating sugar if you have diabetes. While this myth is simply that, a myth, it can also be dangerous. Here's why. On a regular basis, someone with type 1 diabetes can eat all the sugar they want, there are times when they MUST have sugar. Imagine this scenario:
(SD is answering questions in a monotone and monosyllables. She also looks spaced out, and her hands are shaking.)
SMI: SD, are you ok?
SMI: is there anything I can do for you?
SMI: um, you have diabetes, right?
SMI: so you need insulin or something?
SMI: sugar? For a diabetic??? I think NOT!! I wouldn't want you to get sick!
SMI: listen, I don't know much about diabetes, but I know this: people with diabetes can't have sugar under any circumstances and no excuse you will give me is going to convince me to give you something potentially harmful!
Whether she pours out my orange juice, dumps my winkies in the trash, or simply yells at me not to eat that, you can see how this can become a potentially dangerous situation. If my blood sugar is low, I NEED sugar. My blood sugar doesn't get low too often, and it has hardly gotten to the level that I need someone to assist me in getting sugar, but the few times that it has, I recovered feeling very grateful that I hadn't been in the presence of idiots who were dangerously misinformed. (Or at least that I hadn't been in the presence of people who think they know everything because they watched it on Hannah Montana...)
So anyway, back to our super dedicated parents, they did everything possible to prevent this show from airing. They emailed and called the big shots at the Hannah Montana show. They rallied for public support. They did everything in their power. And it worked! The episode was pulled. And the illegal trailer was removed from YouTube before I could manage to watch it, which is a shame, because I would have loved to actually know what I was talking about rather than make it up...
The moral of the story: don't underestimate the power of overtired, syringe wielding parents in large groups. Oh, wait, the moral was supposed to have something to do with giving sugar to diabetics, well sorry, you'll have to figure it out on your own...
So what are the top diabetes myths? I'll let you know in an upcoming post. Right now I'm off to eat some sugar just to prove people wrong.... ;)