POPULAR MYTHS, MISCONCEPTIONS AND CHALLENGES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES MELLITUS
Nivedha Kumari* and Prathibha K. M.**
More than 60 million Indians are living with Diabetes mellitus - a chronic disease that can lead to life threatening illnesses including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation. Diabetes in India has many peculiarities in all aspects from risk factors to control programmes. Meticulous control of diabetes is possible with proper medication, exercise and diet. However, the treatment outcomes are unpredictable or ineffective due to the myths and misconceptions in vogue. Myths related to diabetes are very common, due to practices that have not been correctly evaluated and are a part of cultural identity. Literature search revealed that some of the most common myths in the population included that “eating more sugar causes diabetes”, “diabetes can occur only in old age”, “soaking feet in water can help control blood sugar”, “diabetes is an outcome of past sins” and “diabetes is contagious”. Other myths were pertaining to medications (“drugs cause weight gain”), food (“Patient should follow one specific diet”), body fitness (“exercise is not important for managing diabetes”), psyche (“I can never take a break from dealing with my diabetes”) and practices (“taking prescriptions from Hakims or local traditional practitioners”). Consumption of herbal preparations of Madagascar leaf (Nithyakalyani), Jamun fruit seeds, bitter gourd juice, Amla juice and Fenugreek seeds is believed to reduce the blood sugar and exert good glycemic control. Efforts should be made to promote education and health awareness regarding the disease with more emphasis on myths that hinder the health seeking behaviour of people.
Keywords: KEYWORDS: Diabetes mellitus, Myths, Misconceptions, health education.
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