There are a lot of misunderstandings and rumors when it comes to diabetes management and causes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have many contributing factors that people ignore because they believe prevalent diabetes myths. Here, we investigate a list of common myths in order to help you prevent and/or manage diabetes more accurately.
Top 10 Diabetes Myths and Facts
- There’s nothing I can do to make my diabetes better, so why even try? Changes in lifestyle and managing your blood sugar can ameliorate and even virtually reverse type 2 diabetes. So don’t think there’s nothing you can do. Even with type 1, staying on top of your blood sugar levels and taking insulin as needed will keep you in good health. Work with your doctor and dietitian to make a plan to keep you strong and healthy.
- Diabetes is a disability. Diabetes is a condition that can be managed. People with diabetes lead healthy, happy lives where they can do everything and hold the same jobs as people without diabetes. Don’t let diabetes hold you back from living your life to the fullest.
- Eating a lot of sugar causes diabetes. This is the most classic myth about diabetes. It’s simply not true. Diabetes is more complicated than that. Type 1 stems from genetic and other unknown factors, and results in the pancreas not making insulin. Type 2 is caused by lifestyle factors, genetics, and other unknown factors. In type 2, there is a problem with insulin resistance and sensitivity that causes blood sugar levels to rise too high. While eating sugar can exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes, it is not the main cause. A sedentary lifestyle in which a person consistently eats unhealthy, high-carb foods can lead to type 2.
- It’s not safe for women with type 1 to have children. This is a common myth that has been perpetuated for years. While pregnancy in a type 1 mother is considered high risk, when watched carefully and managed well, a type 1 mother can have a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.
- I can tell when my blood sugar level is up, so I don’t need to test. You might be able to tell if your blood sugar is extremely high or low, but you can’t trust your intuition to detect gradual changes in blood sugar levels. Stay safe by testing as often as your doctor recommends.
- I can’t eat fruit. While fruit can cause blood sugar spikes, certain fruits can be eaten in moderation. Find out which fruits work best for your body, and eat them as an occasional snack. Be sure to check blood sugar levels to make sure your natural treat doesn’t make your levels spike too high.
- It’s not safe to exercise when you have diabetes. Exercise is very important for people both with and without diabetes to remain healthy throughout their lives. While it’s important to test your blood sugar levels both before and after exercising, and to manage your carb intake and insulin, regular exercise can make a huge difference in how you feel and how your are able to manage your condition. Start your exercise routine slowly and work up to a more vigorous exercise schedule.
- I have prediabetes, but not diabetes, so I don’t need to worry. This is not true. If your doctor tells you you have prediabetes or “borderline” diabetes, that’s a sign that you need to take action right away. Now is your chance to make lifestyle changes that can save you from many complications in the future.
- My blood sugar is under control, so I don’t need to take medication. Follow your doctor’s orders in this case. While you may think you have your blood sugar under control, it may take your body a while to adjust to coming off a medication or other physical changes. While there may be a time when you can stop insulin or other medications, make sure to always follow the plan that you, your doctor, and other members of your healthcare team have decided on. For some, diabetes progresses no matter what they do, so they will need to remain on medication.
- I’m going to be on insulin for the rest of my life. With type 1 diabetes, this is the case. However, for those with type 2, a lifetime on insulin is not always inevitable. Once a diabetes patient loses weight, focuses on healthy eating choices, and becomes more mobile, they can sometimes alleviate the need to take insulin. In some cases, those who undergo bariatric surgery are able to go off of insulin and reverse many of the symptoms of diabetes.
Now that you know the top diabetes myths and facts, you can manage your diabetes more successfully. While there is still not a cure for diabetes, researchers are making new discoveries each day that will make diabetes complications a thing of the past.