American Diabetes Awareness Month: Common Myths

Dispelling common myths about diabetes is one of the main missions of the American Diabetes Association.   They outline the following myths and combat them with useful facts.    Do any of these change how you think about diabetes?

Myth#1:  If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes

Myth#2:  Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

Fact: No, it does not.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.  Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.  If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth #3:  If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly

Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications.  But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal.  Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one

Myth#4:  Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

(source:  American Diabetes Association)