As part of our annual coverage of American Diabetes Month, we’d like to play myth busters with the help of our friends at InsidersHealth.com. Here are some common diabetes myths and the real truth behind them.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells us that 1 in 10 adults have diabetes and more and more people are being diagnosed daily. If the current trend continues in just a few short decades the number will soar to 1 in 3 adults.
Yes, 33 percent of adults would have this debilitating – and sometimes deadly – disease.
These are truly alarming statistics especially when you look at the facts:
- Diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and various neuropathies.
- More than 220,000 Americans die from diabetes complications each year.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
With this kind of harsh reality, the myths shrouding diabetes – and there are many – only add to the alarm and confusion surrounding what is already a pressing concern for a number of individuals. The following will shed some light on 5 of the most common myths about diabetes.
Myth #1: Only older people have to worry about type-2 diabetes.
Not at all. As a matter of fact, the recent sharp rise in reported cases among children has prompted many experts to brand the phenomena as an epidemic. Not long ago type-1 diabetes was considered the only type to be concerned about. But now upwards of 45% of new diabetes cases in children are type-2. This diagnosis seems to go hand in hand with the rising obesity problem among our nation’s youth.
Myth #2: Diabetes is always and only controlled with insulin.
While it’s true that type-1 diabetes requires insulin injections for proper management, smart food choices are also necessary to lessen the chances of runaway blood sugar levels. Type-2 diabetes can be controlled largely with a healthy diet and exercise, and insulin injections may not be necessary at all.
Myth #3: Carefully following a diabetes management plan ensures your blood glucose is always under control.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Type-2 diabetes is fickle. Aging, stress, infections, other illnesses all can throw a monkey wrench into management plans. But with diligence there will be far more consistent “good” readings and fewer occasional “bad” ones.
Myth #4: Diabetes requires a rigid, bland diet.
While the diabetes diet does impose restrictions, that doesn’t mean people with diabetes are doomed to eat cardboard the rest of their lives. It’s mostly a matter of controlling the amount of fat and calories consumed so that glucose levels don’t spike. The focus should be on healthy carbohydrates and fats, fiber-rich foods, and lean proteins. Something we should all direct our focus on anyway.
Myth #5: Being overweight leads to diabetes.
Not always. There are plenty of overweight individuals who don’t have it. Obesity, on the other hand, is one of the major risk factors. A body mass index of 30 or higher is considered obese.
Right now there is no cure for type-1 diabetes but there are certainly steps anyone can take to drastically lower their chances of developing type-2. The two biggest steps include lifestyle changes with regards to diet and exercise.
Once America, and indeed the world, tackles its obesity problem there will almost certainly be a drop in the alarming trends which are now underway. An equally important step involves education, separating fact from fiction, and being proactive when it comes to maintaining your health