Diabetic Myths Debunked
While we all think we know about diabetes, there is a lot of misinformation out there that can be both harmful and confusing. It's time to put these myths to rest— here are some of the most common diabetes myths debunked.
You Will Develop Type 2 Diabetes if You’re Overweight or Obese
Excess weight —especially obesity— is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but just because you are overweight or obese does not mean you will 100% develop the disease. A significantly higher percentage of people are overweight or obese compared to those who have type 2 diabetes. If there were a causal relationship, these numbers would be much closer together. There are numerous more factors, such as genetics and age, that contribute to the progression of type 2 diabetes.
Eating Lots of Sugar Will Cause Diabetes
While a connection between sugar and diabetes exists, sweet treats are not the cause of this disease. People with type 2 diabetes have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance, but this is not caused by eating sugar. However, obesity is a risk factor for insulin resistance (and therefore, type 2 diabetes), and eating lots of sugar may contribute to weight gain. Moderation is always key!
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Are the Same
While both diseases affect insulin levels, the causes and mechanisms of type 1 and 2 diabetes are vastly different. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that has a much earlier age of onset. The immune cells attack the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, so the body cannot produce it. In type 2 diabetes, the body does produce insulin, but the cells don’t properly absorb it due to insulin resistance. The age of onset is much later, and there are many lifestyle-related risk factors to the disease, such as obesity.
The Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes are Obvious
Most people think they will “just know” when/if they develop diabetes because the signs and symptoms are obvious, but this is a dangerous diabetic myth. Diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugar levels reach a certain level that may not cause symptoms yet. Some people might feel fatigued, have blurred vision, or feel extremely thirsty, but others may not have any symptoms— especially if blood sugar levels gradually increase over time. It’s best to get your blood sugar levels checked if you are at risk of developing diabetes.
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