November is National Diabetes Month – a time set aside to bring awareness to the seriousness of diabetes. The more you know for sure, the better able you will be to successfully prevent or manage the disease.
Myth: If you eat too many sweets, you’ll get diabetes.
Fact: Diabetes isn’t caused by eating too much sugar; it’s caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. However, eating foods high in sugar, fat, and calories can cause you to become overweight, which increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Myth: Type 1 diabetes is more serious than type 2 diabetes.
Fact: All types of diabetes are serious. Type 1 and type 2 involve elevated blood glucose levels which can lead to serious complications such as nerve damage, foot ulcers, amputation, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and blindness.
Myth: If you don’t take diabetes medicine, your diabetes must not be serious.
Fact: Not everyone who has diabetes takes medicine for it. If your body produces some insulin, losing weight, adopting healthy eating, and getting regular physical activity can help insulin work more effectively. However, even if you don’t take medicine now, you need to keep a close eye on your condition. Diabetes does change through time, and diabetes medicine may be needed later.
Myth: If you get diabetes, insulin will cure it.
Fact: Insulin doesn’t cure diabetes. It helps to control diabetes by keeping the blood glucose from rising. At this point, there is no cure, only medicines and lifestyle changes that can help you manage it better.
Myth: If you have diabetes you can expect to lose your sight and limbs eventually.
Fact: Having diabetes doesn’t mean you’re doomed to sightlessness or amputations. Keeping your diabetes under control can prevent the most serious complications.
Myth: Dessert is off limits if you have diabetes.
Fact: While eating too many sugary foods is not a good idea, you can have an occasional dessert. It should be counted as part of your total carbohydrate intake for the day. Meaning, if you plan to have a piece of wedding cake, limit the bread, potatos, and other carbs you eat that day.
Myth: If you love bread, potatoes, and pasta, you’re out of luck. Carbs and starches are off-limits if you have diabetes.
Fact: Carbohydrates and starches are part of a healthy diet–even for people with diabetes. You have to control your portions, but you can enjoy a nice pasta salad or a few potatoes if you like.
Myth: You can cure diabetes with the right diet.
Fact: A healthy diet and exercise can reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, but once you have it, you have it. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that has no cure. However, with proper management (that includes that healthy diet again) it can be well controlled.