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Diabetes: Sweet Imaginations VS Bitter Disease!

According to the latest statistics released by the World Health Organization, two people are affected with the disease in every 10 seconds. Diabetes is a common disease and many people in Iran do not have accurate information about it. Some people not only do not have precise information, but also have false beliefs about the disease. One of the best ways to correct these misconceptions is to provide research reports and present accurate statistics. Emrooz Marketing Research Company (EMRC) on the last week of November 2018 and on the occasion of the World Diabetes Awareness Month, conducted a research study. The data of the research were collected through an online questionnaire. The following are the result of the study.


Beliefs of the Research Audience about Diabetes

In this study, different questions were cited about the diabetes and the people were asked to respond. The audience answered the questions through the options: false, I do not know and true.

The questions in this research were as follows:

• People with diabetes should not eat sweets (false)

• Hair loss is one of the symptoms of diabetes (false)

• People with diabetes lose their smelling sense (false)

• People with diabetes should not use sugar (false)

• Weight gain increases the risk of type 1 diabetes (false)

• Diabetes can cause death (true)

• Diabetes is not transmitted from a (healthy) person to a (non-healthy) person (true)

• Frequent urination is one of the symptoms of diabetes (true)

• Excessive thirst is one of the warning symptoms of diabetes (true).

• Hands and feet of people with diabetes may become numb (true)

84% of the participants in the research study gave correct answers to ten questions. Meanwhile, 73% of the people responded positively to the question “Diabetes may cause death. This percentages indicate that the Iranian people need more accurate information about this pervasive and common disease. The bitter diabetes is still unknown in Iran.


Profile of Research Participants

The questionnaire of this research work was completed by different people. The interesting point is that 57% of the respondents said they do not have diabetes themselves, but one of their close relatives suffers from the disease. Also, 3 percent of the participants said they were struggling with diabetes while 28% of people in this study said they were not suffering from diabetes, but knew people who suffered from diabetes. Twelve percent of the participants do not have diabetes and do not know anyone with diabetes. Also, people aged 22 to 58 years participated in this research study. Out of the figure, 64% were female, 84% with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Mental Image about Diabetes

In part of the research study, the audience were asked to express their mental image of diabetes. Twenty-eight percent of the participants in the research said when they hear the term ‘diabetes’, sugar, sweets and beverages are brought in their minds. Six percent of the participants said diabetes reminds them of thirst and dry mouth. Knowing the mental image of the people about the disease is extremely important. Health officials and activists can design targeted campaigns with accurate messages; messages that can purposefully change the outlook of the audiences about diabetes.


Checking Authenticity & Inaccuracy of the Answers

 In this research work, different questions were raised through which the audience, by determining their inaccuracy or correctness, measured the degree of their awareness about diabetes. For example, loss of smelling sense or hair loss in diabetic patients are false beliefs that are common among people and need to be changed.

Also, with weight gain, the risk of being affected with type 1 diabetes will not increase. Rather, overweight can increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is commonly caused by attack of the immune system on insulin-producing cells. On the other hand, weight gain does not necessarily mean overweight; overweight and obesity are calculated based on the BMI formula.

In this respect, the belief that people with diabetes should not eat sweets is also wrong. People with diabetes can take sugary foods, but like others, should avoid excessive consumption of sweet foods.

Overall, diabetes is not a contagious disease, and type 2 diabetes depends more on the lifestyle of the people. Genetic factors can increase the likelihood of getting the bitter diabetes. Also, diabetes can cause serious problems if it is not treated and managed. Diabetes causes the death of four million people a year. In addition, diabetes is one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, blindness, kidney diseases, and amputation of lower limb. As a result, diabetes is a sweet disease which can become bitter if not treated.