When it comes to health and wellness, being proactive and staying in tune with your body is the best way to prevent diseases or catch them early before the road to recovery becomes even harder. But with diabetes, the symptoms can often fly under the radar. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention almost 30 million people in the US have diabetes and nearly 30 percent of those people are undiagnosed—making diabetes education all the more important.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, your body can produce insulin, but because there’s an issue with your body turning glucose into energy, there’s a progressive loss of insulin secretion. If left untreated, Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, amputation and even death. As the number of people with diabetes steadily grows, there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding this disease.
Dr. Swathi A. N. Rao, internal medicine physician with Riverview Health Physicians, debunks five common myths and misconceptions about diabetes:
Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Eating foods high in calories or sugar doesn’t cause diabetes. However, a diet with excessive calories and sugar can predispose individuals to weight gain, and being overweight or obese is a risk factor for the development of diabetes. In addition, foods high in calories can cause uncontrolled hyperglycemia in people with preexisting diabetes.
People with diabetes can’t eat sweets, but can eat unlimited quantities of “healthy foods” such as vegetables and fruit.
People with diabetes don’t have to completely avoid sweets or swap them for “healthier foods,” but they should focus on consuming a diet that’s low in carbohydrates, saturated fat and trans fat. It’s important to point out that some stereotypically “healthy” foods, such as fruits, can raise glucose levels. When dealing with diabetes, it’s best to consult with a certified diabetes educator and nutritionist.
Type 2 diabetes occurs only in adults, and Type 1 diabetes occurs only in children.
Both types of diabetes can occur in either age group. Although Type 2 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in adulthood, it’s becoming more prevalent among children as well.
People with Type 2 diabetes never have to take insulin, but people with Type 1 diabetes do.
As opposed to Type 1 diabetes where insulin is needed, Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that can eventually lead to insulin requirement. Regular exercise, losing weight, healthy eating habits and oral medications, if needed, can help you manage Type 2 diabetes for some time before insulin becomes necessary.
I can catch diabetes from someone else.
Diabetes is not contagious, but rather, it arises from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The more you can educate yourself on this disease and the risks for developing Type 2 diabetes, the better equipped you’ll be to take control of your health. Take the Type 2 diabetes risk test today to find out if you’re at risk.
Do you or does someone you know have diabetes? The board certified and fellowship-trained endocrinologists at Riverview Health can provide a highly individualized treatment plan for diabetes to help improve your quality of life and prevent any long-term diabetic complications. You can learn about our services, specialties and doctors at Noblesville Diabetes & Endocrinology and Internal Medicine.