Diabetes Myths & Facts

Myths around diabetes are plentiful. This can make it hard to separate fact from fiction. Don’t worry though - we’re here to help! Time for some myth-busting!

Myth – Diabetes is not serious

Fact – Diabetes is always serious. Thankfully, these days there are ways to manage diabetes effectively. However, all types of diabetes are serious and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and lead to complications if left unmanaged.

Myth – All diabetes is the same

Fact – There are multiple types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are the most common but another common one is gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy. There are also rarer types of diabetes such as LADA.

Myth – Diabetes can be prevented

Fact – Not all types of diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease the cause of which is unclear. Meanwhile there is evidence that some risk factors for type 2 diabetes can be managed such as being overweight. However, there are factors contributing to type 2 diabetes such as family history and ethnicity which can’t be changed.

Myth – Only overweight people get diabetes

Fact – While being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, there are other factors at work too. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable nor is it associated with being overweight.

Myth – You can only get type 1 diabetes when you’re young

Fact – Type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently in those under 30. However, it’s still possible to get it at older ages too.

Myth – You only get diabetes when you’re old

Fact – While more common in those over 45, type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent in young people especially as people in younger age groups, including children, are increasingly overweight.

Myth – People with diabetes can’t eat dessert

Fact – People with diabetes don’t need to cut out sugar completely. The key is to eat in moderation and pay attention to your diet.

Myth – People with diabetes can’t do sport or exercise

Fact – Many sports people have type 1 diabetes. Exercising can help you maintain a healthy weight and manage type 2 diabetes.

Myth – If I don’t have family members with diabetes, I don’t need to worry about it

Fact – Family history is only one of several risk factors for diabetes. Being overweight puts you at significant risk regardless of family history.

Myth – People with diabetes are unsafe drivers

Fact – Most people with diabetes can drive safely if they use insulin appropriately and monitor their blood sugar levels.

Myth – Only people with type 1 diabetes need insulin

Fact – Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition. 50% of people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin 6 to 10 years after being diagnosed because the pancreas produces less insulin over time. Those with type 1 diabetes rely on insulin supplements every day. They also need to test their blood glucose levels throughout the day.

Don’t be confused by the myths around diabetes. With good glucose management and an appropriate lifestyle, you or your loved one can continue to thrive and enjoy life.

By Joel Kingsman

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