What are some of the myths about diabetes?

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The top 4 myths about type 2 diabetes are:

Myth 1: "Diabetes is nothing to worry about—it's just a 'touch of sugar.' I'm just borderline."
Fact: Diabetes is a serious condition, but there's a lot you can do to take care of yourself.

Myth 2: "If I take my diabetes pills, I don't have to worry about what I eat or whether I exercise."
Fact: All three ways—medication, meal planning and physical activity—work together to treat diabetes.

Myth 3: "Once you have diabetes, there's nothing you can do to prevent health problems."
Fact: Research has proven that keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels on target can help prevent diabetes complications such as heart attack, stroke and eye problems.

Myth 4: "Now that I have diabetes, I shouldn't eat sugar or carbohydrates."
Fact: These days, people with diabetes can eat sweets, carbohydrates or any other food and still keep blood glucose levels on target. It's the amount that counts. A dietitian can help you design a meal plan that includes your favorite foods.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

There are a number of myths about type 2 diabetes. The most dangerous myth is the belief that diabetes isn’t that serious. In fact, type 2 diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Another popular misconception is that type 2 diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar. This myth probably stems from the fact that if you eat a lot of sugar, you may be overweight, and that can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. But just because you consume a lot of sugar doesn’t mean you’ll end up with diabetes, which is caused by heredity and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight and not exercising.

Another myth: Some people believe that if you have type 2 diabetes, you must eat only special foods. Not true. Your diet should be one that would be healthy for anyone—low in fat, with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat and nonfat dairy products.

Mr. Eliot LeBow, CDE, LCSW
Endocrinologist

Think type 2 diabetes is simply caused by extra pounds? Think again. In this video, Eliot LeBow, a psychotherapist who specializes in diabetes, clears up common myths about type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD
Endocrinologist

One of the biggest myths about diabetes is that a patient has little control over the outcome, says Scripps Health endocrinologist Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD. Many cultures have their own unique myths about diabetes, as she explains in this video.

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.