15 Common Myths And Facts About Diabetes

Myths And Facts About Diabetes

Often the false beliefs and myths about diabetes outweigh the reality and the facts. Blatant untruths circulate and are presented as proven facts. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can lead to complications serious, often fatal, including cardiovascular problems, amputations, coma, and blindness. Recently, Canadian researchers determined that the life expectancy of people with diabetes was, on average, 13 years lower than those of non-diabetics. 

The myths surrounding diabetes reinforce the stigma, the pain it causes, and most importantly, the misunderstanding and misdiagnosis. It is important to be aware of the facts about diabetes to distance yourself from myths and food legends. For older people, a better understanding of this disease develops the right attitude to cautiously deal with risks.


Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes is generally more common in children and young adults. This is an autoimmune condition, which occurs when the pancreas no longer makes insulin because the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells producing insulin in the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes should take insulin by injection or insulin pump. The cause of type 1 diabetes is not clear and cannot be prevented.

Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in middle-aged or older people. You are not making enough insulin or the body is not responding properly. In this type of diabetes, the body cannot effectively utilize the insulin to bring glucose into cells. This is called insulin resistance. This type of diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

What happens when you have type 2 diabetes? The pancreas has difficulty secreting enough insulin, or there is a difficulty in the body, which cannot use insulin adequately (this is called “resistance”). Under these circumstances, the sugar from food will build up in the blood, rather than being used to nourish the cells.

FIND OUT: 10 Early Diabetes Symptoms

 Here we bring you the top 15 diabetes myths and the truth behind each one.

 Myth 1: "If You Have Diabetes, You Should Say Goodbye To Sugar"

FACT:  Sugar does not cause diabetes.

A belief often comes up in public opinion: It is important not to believe that! Diabetics do not have to eliminate sugar from their diet. You just need to be more careful watching the type of carbohydrate and the amount of sugar you are ingesting. Desserts are not banned, whether for diabetes 1 or 2. With the latter, the key to success lies in moderation. Sweets should only take up a small portion of your diet, which should consist mostly of whole grains high in fiber, vegetables, and lean protein. 

Type-1diabetes is more difficult to manage since you will need to learn how to adjust your next insulin dose to compensate for your carbohydrate intake. When it comes to diet and blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes, the important thing for older people is to understand what sugary foods are, and then to distribute the sugar intake well throughout their day. 

For instance, lots of people wrongly believe that fruit sugar and maple syrup are better choices than white sugar. Sugars, whether natural or not, raise blood sugar. Obviously, the fruit is a healthier choice than a slice of pecan pie or a double chocolate muffin, since it contains fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Eating too much, no matter what type of food, but particularly foods high in fat and calories can lead to excess weight. 

Having excess weight is one of the major risk factors of diabetes. Many desserts and sweets contain lots of fat and calories. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 24 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult. Discuss with a nutrition professional how to balance your diet well with your type 2 diabetes. 

Myth 2: “Only The Elderly Suffer From Diabetes”.

FACT:Healthcare professionals are worried about the rapid growth of diabetes type 2 in young people around the world. In the United States, there is an increase in 10 to 30 times the incidence rate in children from 5 to 18 years old, especially in groups with high risk. 

This increase took place over the past 10 to 15 years. Although age is a factor in diabetes, it also depends on the type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (with a different pathophysiology and less frequent) occurs in young people whereas more common type 2 diabetes occurs in older people. The age at which type 2 diabetes is diagnosed is between 40 to 50 years.

Myth 3: “Type 1 Diabetes Is The Most Serious Form Of Diabetes”. 

FACT: Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, including gestational diabetes, are equally serious.

Before the discovery of insulin, children with type 1 diabetes would die within weeks of being diagnosed. It is evident that this tragic outcome of type 1 diabetes continues to influence beliefs today. Today, people with type 1 diabetes inject themselves with insulin to achieve near-normal blood sugar levels. 

The main threats to people with type 1 diabetes are hypoglycemia (low blood sugar caused by injecting too much insulin), diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and misdiagnosis. Type 2-diabetes often goes unnoticed for years (silent disease) and is not diagnosed until too late, when the person goes to the doctor for a serious health problem such as blurred vision (blindness) or an infection requiring amputation. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are both serious illnesses for different reasons.

Myth 4: “Only Children Develop Type 1 Diabetes And Older People (Over 65) Develop Type 2 Diabetes”. 

FACT: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can develop at any age.

Today, adults are the fastest-growing segment of people with type 1 diabetes. In addition, in adults, type 1 diabetes is often confused with type 2 due to age, weight, or race (the risk of type 2 diabetes is higher in some ethnic groups). Antibody tests and measurement of the level of C peptide can easily differentiate between these two types of diabetes.

Today, type 2 diabetes is developing in children, young adults, and, in particular, at an alarming rate in adults in their 30s and 40s. Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in children and adolescents due to the continuing rise in obesity rates.

Myth 5: “Diabetes Can Be Cured"

FACT:  Diabetes is a chronic and incurable disease. 

At this point in time, there is no guaranteed cure for diabetes. This disease lasts for a person's life and cannot be completely cured. However, we know that diabetes can be controlled with healthy eating habits - to the point where there is no need for diabetes medication. 

With Type 2 diabetes, when diagnosed early, some people can reverse the disease with major lifestyle changes including a healthy diet and exercise under a physician's supervision. In addition, there is a need for greater awareness of the development of type 2 diabetes in those with a family history so that people can work on prevention strategies such as healthy eating and exercise. 

Health strategies are recommended not only for people at risk or for those living with diabetes but for everyone. It is important to know that while a person may be able to control (or reverse) his or her diabetes without medication, this control can be lost if that person no longer adheres to a healthy diet.

 Medications will need to be taken to restore immediate control of blood glucose levels (sugar) if this happens. There is no guarantee that a person who is able to break free from his diabetes medication will be able to stay away from these drugs permanently, especially if he returns to unhealthy eating habits.

But it often happens that taking medication for diabetes or insulin is necessary to control blood sugar. When the HBA1c or blood sugar level tends to be high, don't hesitate to discuss it with your doctor, in order to put in place strategies to counter this disease.

Myth 6: "Anyone Who Is Overweight Will Have Type 2 Diabetes"

FACT: Even though being overweight is one of the risk factors, there are other causes that can lead to developing this disease. About 85% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. This means that 15% of diabetics are at a healthy weight, according to an article in Harvard Health Publications. In fact, in 2012 a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people of normal weight with type 2 diabetes were twice as likely to die from heart disease, for example than people with diabetes. 

Excess visceral fat, which is fat that cannot be pinched but which clings to the abdominal organs. This type of fat stimulates the secretion of inflammatory substances which affect the liver and pancreas and can reduce insulin sensitivity, thereby increasing the risk of type 2-diabetes. Scientific studies following physically active patients for more than fifteen years have shown a reduction in the risk of mortality from 39 to 70%. That is why it’s crucial for older people to stay active and exercise at varying intensities every week. Ask your doctor what type of exercise is best for you.

Myth 7: "If I Lose Weight, My Diabetes Will Go Away"

FACT: A 5-10% weight loss obtained, following a change in lifestyle, is often enough to regulate a blood sugar level in type 2 diabetes. However, the disease will not be cured. Certain vigilance is required. This requires constant attention to diet control and type 2 diabetes. A new study from scientists in the United Kingdom shows that the remission of type 2 diabetes is possible through weight control. Scientists have discovered that when we lose a lot of weight, we are more likely to diabetes remission. 

People with diabetes have high blood sugar levels. This is because of a problem with a hormone called insulin. When you eat, the pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin allows glucose to enter your cells, thereby lowering the amount of sugar in your blood. In obese people, the body sometimes needs two or three times as much insulin as it would if it were a healthy weight. When the pancreas tries to make so much insulin, it is pushed over and over and the insulin-producing cells begin to die. 

This makes the condition worse because the pancreas has very few insulin-producing cells. To complicate this problem, studies have also shown that fat cells of people who are obese and who have more abdominal fat actually release molecules that are harmful to the pancreas. So the more fat you have in your abdomen, the greater the risk of damage to your pancreas. 

When you have less weight, your pancreas can better adapt to your body's insulin requirements. There is no need to ban fat, as the body needs it for many functions, such as vitamin absorption and digestion. It's all about the amounts and the extra calories. 

Keep in mind, however, that older people need fewer calories every day. Generally, a healthy weight is defined as a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or less. Studies have shown that people with a family history of type 2 diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2-diabetes themselves. Staying at a healthy weight reduces their risk of getting the disease by about 70 to 90 percent.

Myth 8: “All Diabetes Medications Can Cause Hypoglycemia.”

FACT: It is wrong to believe that all anti-diabetic drugs result in hypoglycemia. Often this is an interaction between different medications the person taking or the way the body responds to the medication. Some are more prone to hypoglycemia than others. Low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia, is a temporary problem that affects many people with type 2 diabetes. 

It is defined by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) as having a blood sugar level of 70 mg / dL or less. Being aware of hypoglycemia and how to fix it is an important part of your diabetes care plan. Low blood sugar can be due to physical activity, especially in people with type 2 diabetes who are treated with insulin or oral diabetic drugs that cause insulin secretion (called secretagogues), including sulfonylureas and glinides (repaglinide and nateglinide) unless carbohydrate intake is adjusted to compensate for the increasing energy needs of the body with the physical activity.

Insulin saves lives, but it is also difficult to manage for some people. New and improved insulin or long-acting insulin allows you to control your blood sugar significantly with a lesser risk of low or high blood sugar. Checking your blood sugar levels, however, is the only way to know how your treatment plan works for you. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have a lower risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) than those with type 1 diabetes.

Some people with diabetes who have low blood sugar may not experience symptoms and signs. Common symptoms of hypoglycemia, which can vary from person to person, include sweating, trembling, feeling anxious, feeling weak, having difficulty seeing, and confusion.

Often people with hypoglycemia do not experience early symptoms and, therefore, do not respond until more severe symptoms appear, such as loss of consciousness. This is especially true for people with type 2 diabetes who often control high blood sugar with insulin or those taking certain diabetes medications, such as Micronase (glyburide) —especially elder people with kidney and/or heart disease - - may not be aware of the early symptoms of hypoglycemia.

Myth 9: “Diabetes Is Not Very Serious”.

FACT: Diabetes is a very serious condition and is responsible for millions of deaths each year. The belief that diabetes is not a serious illness is extremely dangerous.

Diabetes is really a big problem. According to estimates from the IDF Diabetes Atlas in 2017:

·        One in 11 people (425 million) has diabetes worldwide.

·        One in 2 adults with diabetes (212 million) is not diagnosed.

·        Hyperglycemia during pregnancy affects 1 in 6 newborns.

·        Over 1 million children have type 1 diabetes and the incidence is on the rise.

Diabetes causes around 4 million deaths each year. If you or someone you love has diabetes, take it very seriously. Type 2 diabetes is a serious health problem with side effects. However, you have powerful tools, including lifestyle changes and medications, which you can use to control your diabetes and prevent or delay many of the health problems associated with this disease.

With the risk of uncontrolled diabetes, the facts speak for themselves. According to national data for the year 2007, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the US. Diabetes is associated with a long list of major health problems, including heart disease, vision problems, kidney disease, and neurological disorders. A recent study found that diabetes is:

• It is associated with an increased risk of four times the risk of heart disease and stroke

• The main cause of blindness

• The leading cause of kidney failure

• It is associated with high levels of damage to the nervous system

• It is associated with higher rates of amputation due to non-healing wounds

Myth 10: “You Should Not Get Pregnant If You Have Diabetes”

FACT: This myth dates back to the days when diabetes was poorly controlled and misunderstood. Women worry about the risks they run or put their child at risk or are downright worried about not being able to get pregnant, especially if they have type 1 diabetes. Decades ago, before the advent of modern diabetes treatments, a woman with diabetes may have been discouraged from becoming pregnant. Today, however, that is no longer the case. 

Your pregnancy may not be as stress-free as a person without diabetes, but modern advances in diabetes management have made it possible for you to have a normal pregnancy, as long as you take a few precautions. There are still risks of complications, such as premature births when the mother has poorly controlled her blood sugar levels. 

However, most women with diabetes get pregnant and have a perfectly normal pregnancy if taken care of. A woman who wants to get pregnant should make sure that her blood glucose is properly controlled during her pregnancy. Lack of blood glucose control has been shown to increase the risk of birth defects in the developing fetus. 

If you want to get pregnant, you should work closely with your diabetes doctor and your obstetrician. It will be very important to maintain blood glucose control during your pregnancy. Therefore, you will need to monitor your blood glucose frequently and adhere to a careful diet and regular exercise.

Myth 11: “Gestational Diabetes Is Not Serious And Disappears After A Woman Gives Birth” 

FACT: Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It occurs in about 1 in 20 pregnancies. Although it often disappears after birth, unmonitored pregnancy can cause problems for both mother and baby. For mothers, it can cause high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and an increased need for C-section. In a baby, it can cause the baby to have high birth weight, which may lead to shoulder injuries at birth. After birth, both mother and baby are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. It is important to get tested for gestational diabetes, and it is usually done between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

Myth 12: “People With Diabetes Are More Likely To Catch Colds”

FACT:  According to the American Diabetes Association, if you have diabetes, your chances of getting the cold or flu (or other similar illnesses) are not much higher than for someone without diabetes. However, having diabetes can increase your chances of having serious complications if you have a cold or the flu. .

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes, are three times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu. Therefore, it is important to get vaccinated against your flu and to practice good hygiene (like frequent washing of your hands) to avoid catching a cold or flu. Additionally, having a cold or flu can make it harder to control your diabetes. For that reason, if you have diabetes you should be especially careful when it comes to protecting yourself from getting cold or flu.

Myth 13: “Diabetes Is Contagious - You Can Catch Diabetes From Someone Else”

FACT: This seems to be more of a primitive thought but remains one of the most common myths of diabetes nonetheless. Diabetes is not a disease that you can get from someone else. There is no evidence that diabetes is a contagious disease. Transmission is genetic in nature and therefore follows a family path rather than between unrelated individuals. 

Diabetes occurs when a person's pancreas does not produce enough insulin or does not produce any insulin at all, or the body does not respond well to the production of insulin. You cannot catch it by contacting people with diabetes or even a blood transfusion. 

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be a combination of genetic predisposition (if you have certain genes that put you at higher risk) and other environmental factors (such as a virus or some dietary exposure) that cause the disease. Type 2 diabetes is thought to stem from a combination of genetic predisposition, lifestyle, and other factors (e.g., obesity, diet, age, inactive).

Myth 14: “If You Have Diabetes, You May Be Unable To Perform Certain Jobs”

FACT:If you have diabetes, with a few exceptions, you can have whatever job you want. If you are insulin-dependent, you are barred from joining the military. However, some people who are diagnosed with diabetes while serving in the military are allowed to remain registered. Additionally, the US Federal Aviation Administration does not allow diabetic people who take insulin to work as commercial pilots.

Apart from these exceptions, a person with diabetes can work in any occupation to which they are entitled. In 2003, the American Diabetes Association succeeded in getting the U.S. Department of Transportation to remove a ban on insulin-dependent diabetics from operating high-speed trucks or buses. In some cases, such as operating heavy machinery or activities that require the use of motor vehicles, a person with diabetes should be careful to monitor and maintain his blood glucose. However, with proper care and caution, there are very few activities that are restricted to people with diabetes.

Myth 15: “Exercise Is Dangerous For Diabetics”

FACT: Exercise is important in controlling diabetes. If you are on insulin, or a drug that increases insulin production in the body, you should balance exercise with your medication and diet. Talk to your diabetic specialist about creating a workout program that is right for you and your body. Numerous studies have confirmed that regular physical activity like yoga, helps lower blood sugar levels, and helps manage diabetes. 

The important thing here is to get permission from your doctor before you start (especially if you were previously inactive) and ask your doctor or diabetes educator how and when to test your blood sugar when you exercise. If you take any medications or insulin that can cause hypoglycemia, the Mayo Clinic explains, “test your blood 30 minutes before you exercise and about 30 minutes after exercise.

" It would also be good to have a snack on hand to boost your blood sugar levels after exercise. If you are feeling wobbly, your body may be telling you to take a break or stop. Exercise helps burn more fat, lowers blood pressure, and helps control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. A good fitness routine helps keep your body, mind, and heart-healthy. 

FIND OUT: 10 Early Diabetes Symptoms

We hope you have cleared some of the myths you may have heard or read about diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease, but once diagnosed it can be treated and managed. Your doctor will be able to tell you the risks of diabetes and perform a simple blood test to determine if you have the condition.

Disclaimer: Only generic information is provided in this content and this is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult your own doctor or a specialist for more information. HEALTHY and FITNESS do not claim responsibility for this information.

15 common myths about diabetes

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