Diabetes has been silently becoming one of the deadliest chronic diseases out there. You may be surprised at the some of the facts and misconceptions about this common condition. Let’s clear the air on myths and learn facts 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 cannot eat food containing sugar. This is one of the most common diabetes myths; that people with the condition have to eat a sugar-free diet. The fact is, people with diabetes only need to eat a diet that is balanced, which can include some sugar in moderation.
- Type 2 diabetes only affects people who are overweight. While type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight and obese by the media, it is patently untrue that type 2 diabetes only affects overweight people. Around 20% of people with type 2 diabetes are of a normal weight, or underweight.
- Diabetes is contagious. Diabetes cannot be caught off someone else. Diabetes is categorized as being a non-communicable illness meaning it cannot be passed on by sneezing, through touch, nor via blood or any other person to person means.
- People with diabetes go blind and lose their legs. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and also causes many amputations each year. However, those people with diabetes that control blood pressure, glucose, weight and quit smoking all increase their chances of remaining complication free. Blindness and amputation are therefore preventable and the vast majority of people with diabetes will avoid blindness and amputation, particularly if annual diabetic health checks are attended each year.
- More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them doesn’t know they have it.
- Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10%.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
- In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.