You can do this, but not that: Myth busting diabetes
Despite the fact that more than 29 million people in the United States has diabetes, there are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes that accompany this disease. Perhaps due to a lack of awareness and education, the facts of diabetes seem to be shrouded in mystery for many of us—particularly when it comes to the differences between Type 1 and Type 2. And according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), one in four people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
We’ve rounded up some common myths and misconceptions associated with diabetes and the facts that debunk them. Knowledge is power!
Myth: Diabetes is only for kids and overweight people.
Fact: Type 1 diabetes was previously referred to as “juvenile diabetes” because so many of the cases were diagnosed in children and young adults. However, it is possible to develop Type 1 at any age.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors; poor diet and lack of exercise are common risks associated with Type 2, but being overweight alone is not a direct link.
Myth: Diabetics can’t have sugar
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, diabetics are not banned from eating desserts. In fact, they are no more limited than any other individual on a healthy diet. And many products aimed at diabetics as being “dietetic” and “sugar free” can still raise glucose levels and have a “laxative effect” because of the sugar alcohols.
Myth: Type 2 diabetes is not reversible
Fact: While Type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed (but can be properly managed), Type 2 diabetes can be reversible in many cases. “You can change your outcome by changing your lifestyle.”
Myth: People with diabetes can’t play sports/exercise
Fact: Exercise, when properly monitored, is actually good for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. In fact, exercise is one of the key components of preventing Type 2 diabetes. Along with a healthy diet and an action plan from your health care provider, exercise should be part of your routine.
Myth: Insulin pumps cure Type 1 diabetes
Fact: Currently there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes.
Myth: Diabetics are more likely to get colds and the flu
Fact: People with diabetes are just as likely as anyone else to catch a cold, the flu or any other illness—however, they are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu and its complications
Myth: Diabetes can’t be prevented
Fact: Type 1 diabetes cannot be predicted or prevented, but Type 2 diabetes typically has an indicator; prediabetes is a warning sign that indicates the individual’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to rank a full diagnoses of Type 2.
Diabetes is a part of life for many Americans, but there are many misconceptions surrounding Type 1 and Type 2. With proper education, diet, physical activity and communication with your health care team, diabetes can be managed—and in some Type 2 cases, reversed.
For more information about diabetes, check out these resources: