Dispelling 10 myths about diabetes
Fact vs Myth: We’re Busting 10 Myths About Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious, life-long disease that has affected 415 million people around the world. Although it’s a common condition, its prevalence is still low. Around 46% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. This could be because of the many myths that exist. But we’re here to clear the air of these misconceptions and set things straight. Here are 10 myths about diabetes.
Myth #1: Eating sugar causes diabetes
This is probably the most common myth and that’s why it’s the first on the list. Sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes. What does is the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or not respond to the insulin efficiently. This results in an increase in glucose, also called blood sugar, which is a source of energy for the body. Insulin is responsible for helping glucose enter cells around the body so they can use it to carry out their functions.
When the body doesn’t regulate insulin properly, the increase in glucose can lead to diabetes. So sugar doesn’t have a direct cause.
However, when it comes to type 2 diabetes, consuming a diet high in sugar and fat can increase the risk of developing the disease. Scientists are still determining why some people get type 1 diabetes and others don’t.
Myth #2: Being overweight means you will get diabetes
Being overweight can be a risk factor for diabetes but the disease can occur in anyone of any weight. So if you’re overweight, it’s not certain that you’ll get diabetes. In fact, statistics show that 11% of people that have diabetes in the United States aren’t overweight or obese.
Myth #3:Diabetes can be cured
Diabetes can’t be cured and is a chronic condition. However, you can manage it. For example, you can be prescribed insulin by your doctor to help you keep your glucose at a healthy level. You can also make sure you eat healthy, exercise and avoid smoking to reduce your risk of developing serious complications.
Myth #4: Diabetics must avoid sugar at all costs
As we’ve mentioned, sugar isn’t a direct cause of diabetes but rather high glucose levels in the blood due to a lack of insulin. With this in mind, diabetics can still incorporate sweet treats into their diets by managing and monitoring them. A diabetic can eat sugar in moderation and should carefully plan when and what they’re going to eat so that their glucose levels remain balanced. Focusing on a healthier diet and lifestyle can also help you maintain this balance.
Myth #5: Diabetics can’t eat fruit
Fruits contain sugar and that’s probably why most people think diabetics can’t eat them. But they don’t have to deprive themselves of these delicious and nutritious snacks. According to the American Diabetes Association, any fruit is fine for diabetics and a prospective study of half a million Chinese adults suggests that fruit may even help prevent diabetes.
Myth #6: Diabetes is contagious
Diabetes is not contagious. Only diseases that are caused by pathogens can be contagious and diabetes is not one of them, so you can’t catch it from somebody else.
Myth #7: Diabetes always leads to blindness and amputation
While diabetes can result in serious complications, it doesn’t always lead to blindness and amputation. Diabetics can control their blood sugar, blood pressure and weight to reduce their risks of complications. Avoiding smoking is another way they can prevent ending up in these circumstances and remain in good health.
Myth #8: You can’t get diabetes if no one in your family has it
There is a chance of getting type 1 and type 2 diabetes if members of your family have it because the disease can be hereditary. However, just because none of them has the disease doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no chance that you can have it. Certain lifestyle choices and conditions can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Other health conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome, can also have an impact.
Myth #9: Diabetics should only eat diabetes-friendly foods
A lot of foods now come in a sugar-free alternative or diabetic-friendly option where the sugar has been replaced by artificial sweeteners. But the truth is, you don’t necessarily have to opt for these. You can stick to managing your diet and eating sugary foods in moderation. Overall, diabetics eat the same recommended diet as anyone else which should be healthy and well-balanced.
Alternative products can also sometimes still raise glucose levels and may not be sustainable because they can get expensive.
Myth #10: It’s dangerous to exercise if you have diabetes
Because exercise can impact blood sugar in different ways, it’s thought that diabetics shouldn’t get active at all. This is far from true. It can be a good way to manage diabetes because it maintains a healthy weight and reduces blood pressure which are risk factors. It’s important that you keep an eye on your blood sugar levels while exercising and talk to your healthcare professional about which exercises and programs would be best for you.
Frequently Ask Questions About Diabetes
What causes diabetes?
A lack of insulin or the inability to respond efficiently to insulin causes diabetes.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose you by testing your blood. If your glucose level is higher than the healthy range and your symptoms usually tell the doctor if you have the disease.
What is a normal blood sugar level?
A healthy sugar level is no higher than 140 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). Anything between that and 199 mg/dL could mean that you have prediabetes and higher than that means you could have diabetes.
What can I do to prevent diabetes?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent and reduce the risk of diabetes. This includes exercising, eating a well-balanced diet and overall making healthier choices.