November is Diabetes Awareness Month
November is Diabetes Awareness Month. This year the American Diabetes Association decided to focus on Everyday Reality as the theme. Diabetes is an everyday reality for the 30 million Americans that are trying to manage the disease. Currently, there is no cure and managing diabetes does require a lot of work. Eating well, staying regularly active, monitoring blood glucose, and taking medications are things that individuals with diabetes need to consider every single day.
Regardless of whether an individual is newly diagnosed with diabetes or has been managing the disease for many years they likely have encountered a few myths about diabetes.
Here are some of the common myths about living with Type 2 diabetes:
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes Type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes. A diet high in calories from many different food sources can contribute to weight gain. Excess weight can increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Research has linked sugary beverage consumption to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes but not specifically eating high sugar content foods. Everyone can benefit from eliminating sugary beverages from their diet and limiting the amount of added sugar.
Myth: People with diabetes need to eat special foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for someone with diabetes does not require “special” foods. Meal plan recommendations can be individualized to help support that person in managing their diabetes as well as other health conditions. In fact, healthy eating recommendations for an individual with diabetes are really guidelines that are often also great for individuals without diabetes.
Myth: If you have Type 2 diabetes and your doctor prescribes insulin it means that you are failing to take care of your diabetes properly.
Fact: Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, meaning that over time some individuals may make less of the hormone insulin. There are many different types of diabetes medications to help lower blood glucose but insulin is often needed when someone reaches the point where they don’t make much of that hormone. We need insulin to live. The need for insulin isn’t a personal failure of diabetes management, it is an important treatment that can help with diabetes management.
Myth: If you have Type 2 diabetes you are more likely to get colds and other illnesses?
Fact: An individual with well managed diabetes has the same risk of developing a cold or an illness as an individual without diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. Any illness can make managing diabetes difficult and people with diabetes who get the flu are at higher risk for developing complications.
Myth: If you are overweight you will always develop Type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Some individuals believe that carrying excess weight is the only risk factor for Type 2 diabetes which is not true. Although, carrying excess weight is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes it doesn’t mean that every individual that is overweight or obese will develop Type 2 diabetes. There are other factors that put individuals at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes including: family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, prediabetes, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, race/ethnicity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and age.