What are some of the common diabetes myths you have heard or personally believe or believed in? Sharing these 10 Diabetes Myths will provide you with the necessary information to rule out misconceptions about diabetes.
An estimated 37.3 million Americans have diabetes, this is about 1 in 10 Americans. Diabetes is a complicated disease and even in this information age, people have misconceptions about this long-term chronic disease. Such misconceptions have become a significant hurdle for the proper control and treatment of diabetes.
November is American Diabetic Month and the theme this year is Educate to Protect Tomorrow. Unless we educate ourselves on diabetes, our current and future generations are at risk of diabetes as misinformation will lead to the lack of awareness on the causes, treatment, and management of diabetes.
Our article today will inform you about the existing myths about diabetes to help you make better healthcare decisions and effectively support friends or family living with diabetes.
Related Article: Diabetes Management for Seniors at Home
Diabetes Myth 1: Diabetes is Not Genetic
Family lineage and history have been more strongly linked to Type 2 diabetes than type 1, thus genes increase your risk of getting diabetes. However, a majority of people with diabetes have no close family members who have diabetes. Although genetics factor into your risk of diabetes, there are other factors such as lifestyle choices. In a family where they have similar exercise and eating habits, obesity tends to run in the family and this could increase their risk of getting diabetes. Thus, to lower their risk for diabetes, individuals should maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise.
Diabetes Myth 2: Only Adults Get Diabetes
Unfortunately, diabetes can occur and be diagnosed at any age, meaning children, adolescents or young adults are also at risk of getting diabetes. Although the prevalence in American seniors aged 65 and above remains high, it is estimated that about 283,000 Americans under 20 years have been diagnosed with diabetes. Age is considered one of the major risk factors for diabetes as one can get it at any age. The CDC also reports that race is a risk factor for African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska natives.
Diabetes Myth 3: Eating Sugar Causes Diabetes
There is no research showing that sugar causes diabetes, however, it is essential to cut back or moderate sweets and sugary treats or beverages. The misconception about sugar causing diabetes is often because ingested sugars are converted into glucose. This is a blood sugar providing energy for the body by having insulin move glucose from the blood into the cell for energy. For diabetics, the body does not make enough insulin or does not use the insulin well. Though sweet foods may not cause diabetes, they can lead to obesity which increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes Myth 4: Insulin is Only Prescribed to People with Severe Diabetes
This is a dangerous myth because before scientists learned the importance of controlling blood sugar, doctors waited a very long time before prescribing insulin. The use of insulin is good as it gets glucose levels to a healthy level. Type 1 diabetes patients are unable to produce insulin because of an immune disorder that affects the pancreas, thus they require insulin to control their blood glucose levels. For most type 2 diabetes patients, this is a progressive disease and they can keep their healthy blood glucose levels through physical activity, healthy diets, and oral medications. However, some patients require both insulin injections and oral medication to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
Diabetes Myth 5: Diabetes is Not A Serious Disease
It has been noted that more people die from diabetes-related issues than from breast cancer and AIDS combined. This is a fact that is often not appreciated because diabetes is not a visible disease and it is not acutely traumatic like most cancers. Estimates show that 8.5 million people, 18 years or older, were unaware that they had diabetes; for most people when they are clinically symptomatic, this is serious trouble for them. It is important to get laboratory tests done annually to identify whether you have the disease or whether you are prediabetic.
Diabetes Myth 6: Diabetes is Contagious
Diabetes is not a virus as pathogens do not cause diabetes, so it cannot be passed from one person to another. It is however important to know the risk factors for diabetes to prevent it from developing at any stage of your life.
Related Article: Importance of Home Care for Seniors with Diabetes
Diabetes Myth 7: There is A Cure for Diabetes
Currently, in the medical world, no pill, injection, or procedure can cure diabetes. Some people have resulted to using herbs that claim to cure diabetes, however, these only tend to cause potential harm by interacting with diabetes medication and increase hypoglycemic effects which could reduce blood sugars to low levels and increase the risk of other diabetes-related complications. It is worth noting that prediabetic and type 2 diabetes patients, can reverse diabetes with diet, exercise, and oral medication. However, prediabetics need to be careful because they could develop diabetes easily.
Diabetes Myth 8: Diabetic People Should Not Eat Sugar and Carbohydrates
Diabetics need a healthy eating plan that includes limited added sugars, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, and whole foods. Although sugar and carbohydrates may increase blood glucose levels, it is impractical to avoid them as they are in a variety of foods that include fruits and vegetables. These may be crucial sources of other nutrients that the body needs. Diabetics can safely include carbohydrates and sugars in their means by planning to avoid unexpected changes in blood sugars, for instance, maintaining the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal. If you are not sure of what to eat, you can consult a nutritionist and involve a home care agency to help you professionally plan and prepare your food.
Diabetes Myth 9: Diabetes Always Leads to Amputation and Blindness
If diabetes is carefully and well managed, amputation and blindness are very rare. There have been some inevitable cases where diabetes resulted in long-term blood vessel damage. This could lead to complications like amputation, kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, foot ulcers, and even strokes. If diabetes is managed properly, these complications are avoidable. Diabetic patients need regular feet, eye, and kidney screenings to monitor these conditions.
Diabetes Myth 10: People with Diabetes are More Susceptible to Other Diseases
Individuals are no more likely to get other diseases if they are diabetic. However, people with diabetes are asked to take the respective vaccines or shots to prevent further complications. This is because any other disease attacking the body can make it challenging to control diabetes. Diabetics are however more likely to develop serious complications from other diseases than people without diabetes.
We hope that this information will help you understand diabetes better and what you can do to prevent, treat or manage the condition. Get Educated to Protect Tomorrow!
Did you know that Immaculate Homecare Services Diabetes Management Program is designed to help you with the following in the comfort of your home?
- Administering and monitoring oral medication and insulin administration.
- Lifestyle management through meal planning and preparation (with the option to involve your physician or nutritionist).
- Monitoring blood glucose levels and blood pressure.
- Keeping weight and stress under control with a companion with who you can do projects, gardening activities, and have conversations and other activities that will provide the needed stimulation and contact with the outside world for lonely individuals.
- Ensuring you attend preventative screenings.
- Comorbidity management for patients who have another illness apart from diabetes…and more.
Our plans are customized to cater to your individual needs, allow you to live a wholesome life, and maintain the highest level of independence in your day-to-day activities.
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