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10 Myths about Diabetes

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Here are the top myths about Diabetes, the 7th leading cause of death. Listed below are a couple of them that people seem to repeat to each other as facts, but are far different than the truth of the matter.

Here are the top myths about Diabetes, the 7th leading cause of death. Listed below are a couple of them that people seem to repeat to each other as facts, but are far different than the truth of the matter.
  • Myth: You have to be overweight to develop diabetes; thin people don't get the disease.
Fact: There's no doubt that obesity is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes. Genetics also plays a role. But blood sugar can creep up with age, even in skinny people. Our experts recommend that people ages 45 and older have their blood sugar checked every three years. Start earlier if you are overweight and experience symptoms. It's also a good idea if you have one or more additional risk factors, including being sedentary; being of non-Caucasian ancestry; having a family history of diabetes or a personal history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome; or having high blood pressure, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels.
  • Myth: You can get diabetes from eating too much sugar.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages include beverages like:
  • regular soda
  • fruit punch
  • fruit drinks
  • energy drinks
  • sports drinks
  • sweet tea
  • Other sugary drinks.
These will raise blood glucose and can provide several hundred calories in just one serving! See for yourself:
  • Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. This is the same amount of carbohydrate in 10 teaspoons of sugar!
  • One cup of fruit punch and other sugary fruit drinks have about 100 calories (or more) and 30 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Myth: You'll know if your blood sugar is too high because you'll develop telltale symptoms.
Fact: Not necessarily. Slightly elevated blood sugar usually doesn't trigger symptoms. And even in people with moderately elevated blood sugar, the symptoms may be so mild at first that they are easily overlooked. With high blood sugar levels, some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, increased hunger or thirst, weight loss, sores that don't heal, and more frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. In addition to these starchy foods, fruits, beans, milk, yogurt, and sweets are also sources of carbohydrate that you need to count in your meal plan. Wondering how much carbohydrate you can have? A place to start is about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. However, you may need more or less carbohydrate at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes. You and your health care team can figure out the right amount for you. Once you know how much carb to eat at a meal, choose your food and the portion size to match.
  • Myth: People with diabetes should limit their physical activity.
Fact: Quite the opposite. Exercise not only helps control blood sugar but also weight and blood pressure, and will improve cholesterol levels. Physical activity also reduces the risk of common diabetes complications, such as heart disease and nerve damage.But workouts can sometimes lower blood sugar too much, causing hypoglycemia, especially in people who take insulin or certain long-acting oral medications. To help prevent it, don't work out on an empty stomach, stay hydrated, and talk with your doctor about checking your blood sugar before and after exercise. It's also a good idea to have a snack on hand to bring your blood sugar back up if you start to feel shaky, weak, or light-headed.
  • Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications.
  • Myth: Everyone with diabetes needs insulin injections to control the disease.
Fact: People with type 1 disease typically need daily insulin injections because their body produces little or none of the hormone. But many people with type 2 disease can take pills to help keep their blood sugar in check.
  • Myth: Type 1 diabetes is a more serious disease than the type 2 form.
Fact: Left uncontrolled, both types of diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, gum infections, and amputation.
  • Myth: Most people with diabetes will eventually need kidney dialysis or have other disabling complications.
Fact: With regular checkups and good blood sugar control, serious complications occur less frequently.
  • Myth: Once you have type 2 diabetes you have it for the rest of your life.
Fact:Most of the people who took our nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults echoed this gloomy view. In truth, while type 1 diabetes is currently not curable, the type 2 form of the disease, which is far more common and often rooted in lifestyle factors such as inactivity and obesity, can usually be improved by adopting healthier habits.


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