Diabetic & Me

Top 15 myths about diabetes

Top 15 myths about diabetes

There are many misunderstandings, myths and facts surrounding type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This raises natural questions and leads to all kinds of myths. We share some of those about diabetes and clear the air on myths about the condition.

1. Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar/candy

Eating a lot of sugar doesn’t just give you diabetes. Due to other causes something goes wrong in the body. The pancreas no longer makes enough insulin. Or the body stops responding to insulin. Still, it is better not to snack a lot. Because sweets usually contain a lot of fats and calories. That makes you gain weight, and you can get into a higher risk group of getting diabetes type 2 when being obese.

2. People with diabetes need to eat special foods

No. A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as healthy eating for anyone. Eating a lot of fat and sugars is as unhealthy for a diabetic and a non-diabetic. Low carb, low sugar, low fat and healthy eating is the best way to manage a healthy lifestyle.

3. Diabetics can't eat sugar

Diabetics are allowed to eat sugar, preferably in moderation. Sugar makes your blood sugar rise quickly and it contains no useful nutrients. The body also makes blood sugar from other foods (for example; milk, bread, potatoes, …). Diabetics need to take the correct amount of insuline according to their sugar and carb intake. Sugar-free foods and soft drinks can be useful but are mostly not “healthy”.

4. There is a heavy and light form of diabetes

You have diabetes or you don’t. But every person with diabetes is different and with a tailor-made treatment. There are people who need to inject insulin a few times a day because their body no longer makes insulin. Other people still have insulin, but too little or the body no longer responds well to it. They are usually given tablets to make the pancreas produce more insulin, or to make their bodies respond better to insulin.

5. Only old people can have diabetes

More and more people of all ages are getting diabetes. Especially type 2 diabetes, which is associated with too little exercise and obesity. There are even preschoolers in America who have type 2 diabetes! More and more children are also developing type 1 diabetes. Scientists are investigating why.

6. Diabetes is contagious

You cannot get diabetes through contact with someone else. Diabetes is not an infectious disease that can be transmitted by bacteria, viruses or physical contact. Not even through breastfeeding. Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that arises from causes within the body.

7. Diabetes is curable

No, it’s not curable. So far. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition, it cannot be prevented. The cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown. However, there are some proven studies to reverse or improve type 2 diabetes with a healthier life style. Such as plant based or low carb.

8. Obesity causes diabetes

This myth comes from uninformed observation. While it’s true many people who have diabetes are overweight, people sometimes make causal connections that aren’t there. However, obesitas is one of the leading factors that have potential to give you type 2 diabetes.

9. Insulin causes blindness

Insulin only regulates your blood sugar. It does not make you blind or go paranoid. It’s a lifesaver. It has fewer side effects than any other diabetes medication Yet, it’s nearly universally misunderstood.

10. Injecting insulin hurt

Insulin shots are different than other injections. Modern needles are thin and short, with beveled tips that are coated with lubricants. These needles are injected into fat layers under the skin on parts of the body with few nerve endings. Therefore most of the time painless.

11. You only get type 1 diabetes when you’re young

Type 1 diabetes occurs most frequently in people under 30 years, however new research suggests almost half of all people who develop the condition are diagnosed over the age of 30.

12. Women with type 1 diabetes cannot safely have children

It was the medical standard of care to advise women with diabetes type 1, not to conceive. Today, while it is considered a high-risk pregnancy that should be managed by a team of health-care experts, thousands of women with diabetes safely deliver healthy babies every year.

13. People with diabetes are unsafe drivers

Type 1 and type 2 diabetics are fine to drive. Although a certificate from your doctor is needed in some countries to allow you to drive. The main danger of driving for people with diabetes is if hypoglycemia occurs.

14. You only get type 2 diabetes when you’re old

Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring in younger age groups including children, adolescents and young adults.

15. Diabetics are not allowed to do active sports

High-prominence diabetic sportsmen and women have disproved this diabetes myth. Being active is the better approach to control your blood sugars and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keep in mind that exercise can lower blood sugar, so you might need to eat a snack before you work out, especially if you’re taking medication that lowers your blood sugar. Just as with any exercise, test your blood sugar before and after and make sure to carry snacks with you.

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About the author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world.I am currently using a Freestyle Libre CGM and a Minimed 640G insulin pump with Humalog.

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