Diabetes has become increasingly prevalent around the world. There are over 422 million people living with the condition globally, and approximately one in 10 people in the United States have it. Since diabetes is not a rare condition, you might think that people have a better understanding of it. Unfortunately, there are many persistent myths about diabetes that make a person feel excluded, rejected, and blamed for living with the chronic condition. Here are 5 common myths about diabetes.
Myth #1: Diabetes Is Caused by Eating Sugar
It’s understandable why people would believe this to be true. Diabetes is closely tied to blood sugar, so the common misconception is that eating a lot of sugar will make someone diabetic. However, this simply isn’t the case.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the pancreas cells that produce insulin, a hormone that controls and regulates glucose levels in the blood. Type 2 diabetes develops later in life and is characterized by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or respond well to insulin. Both the conditions are not caused by eating too much sugar.
If there is any kind of link between too much sugar and diabetes, it’s that a sugary diet can lead to obesity, which in turn can make one more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. However, the condition is still more closely tied to obesity as opposed to a high sugar intake.
Myth #2: Only Obese People Can Be Diabetic
There is a myth that only obese people develop diabetes. While obesity does make a person more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, it can occur in people of any weight. According to a 2020 statistics report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are not overweight or obese. Meanwhile, type 1 diabetes has never been associated with body weight.
Myth #3: Diabetics Cannot Have Sugar
While people with diabetes do need to monitor and plan their diets closely to limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates they consume, they don’t need to abstain from sugar altogether. They need to maintain healthy blood sugar levels; that isn’t the same as not eating sugar.
Myth #4: Diabetes Is a Minor Condition
Diabetes is very common, and it is possible to have it and live a full and active life. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be serious. Diabetes was the underlying cause of 84,946 deaths in the United States in 2018. Those who live with the condition often face complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, blindness, and hearing loss.
Myth #5: You Can “Catch” Diabetes
This is absolutely not true. Diabetes is not caused by any virus or bacteria. There is a genetic component, so you are more likely to be diabetic if it runs in your family, but none of the risk factors that can lead to diabetes are caused by any pathogens. You won’t “catch” diabetes from other diabetics, so don’t worry if you have family or friends with the condition.
If you would like to learn more about type 1 and type 2 diabetes or if you need access to testing supplies, contact Helping Diabetics USA today. We have made it our mission to give uninsured or underinsured diabetics across the country easier access to the testing supplies they need at a fraction of their normal cost, and we will do what we can to ensure that you receive the care that you deserve.