Diabetes Health: What’s True And What’s Not
If you’re among the more than 34 million American diagnosed with diabetes, you know that living with the disease is no laughing matter. That being said, sometimes the things people believe about diabetes and what gets perpetuated by urban folklore is downright laughable. In this post, we focus on some of the big myths surrounding diabetes. Some of these you may have heard. Some may be entirely new to you. Regardless, we hope to shed a little light on diabetes, set the facts straight, and dispel some of those myths, both serious and silly, surrounding the disease.
We encourage everyone living with diabetes to follow your doctor-approved treatment plan, including testing your blood sugar regularly and adhering to any prescribed medication, including insulin injections. Now, without further ado, here are our Top 10 biggest diabetes myths.
Did you know sugar causes diabetes?
Actually, no it doesn’t. While it’s true that people living with diabetes are diagnosed because they have too much sugar in the blood, that’s not the root cause of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs because the body does not produce insulin, the hormone necessary to process blood sugar and turn it into energy. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic condition in which the body is unable to efficiently process the insulin it does produce. In both types, blood sugar gradually builds up leading to elevated levels. But to say eating sugar is the culprit is simply wrong. Now, just because sugar isn’t the direct cause of diabetes doesn’t mean it’s open season on sweets. Eating too much sugar is unhealthy whether you have diabetes or not. It contributes to weight gain and other factors that can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. But to say sugar causes diabetes - that’s just a myth.
Be careful! Diabetes is contagious.
Okay, this is one of the downright silly ideas people have about diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, while science is not entirely sure why some people develop diabetes and others don’t, one thing that is absolutely clear is that diabetes is not transferable. It doesn’t work like a virus. You can’t get it from sharing food or being coughed on or by being in close proximity to someone who has diabetes. So, relax hypochondriacs and germophobes. You can’t catch diabetes.
People with diabetes always get sick.
Again, this is just not true. People with diabetes are no more likely to catch a cold or get the flu than anyone else. However, even though the risk of catching a bug is no greater, when diabetics do get sick, we have to take extra precautions because illness can make blood sugar more difficult to control, which can then lead to other health complications. But the idea that we’re more susceptible to catching that dreaded cold just isn’t true.
If you get diabetes, you’re probably going to go blind.
This myth has a frightening touch of truth to it. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. However, dig deeper and the truth of the matter remains that eye complications and blindness due to diabetes are the result of blood sugar that is highly out of control. The overwhelming majority of people living with diabetes avoid blindness by following a diabetes testing and treatment program created alongside their diabetes physician to keep blood sugar in check.
If you have diabetes you have to eat special foods.
No, you don’t. You can eat the same foods as anybody else who is following a healthy diet. Yes, you have to count your carbs and watch your intake of sugars and fats, but a diabetes healthy diet is essentially just a healthy diet – lean proteins like chicken and fish, plenty of non-starchy vegetables, delicious whole grains. So, unless you consider eating processed foods day in and day out a normal diet, having diabetes does not mean you’ll be eating special foods.
People with diabetes shouldn’t drive.
This statement is both absolutely unrealistic and absolutely false. It probably stems from one of the complications diabetics can face, hypoglycemia, which is a sudden drop in blood sugar. This can cause dizziness, and, in severe cases can lead an individual to pass out. However, once again, hypoglycemia occurs when a person fails to test their blood sugar regularly and properly treat their diabetes. This is not common among diabetics. In fact, an ADA study concluded that road accidents directly attributed to diabetes are relatively rare occurrences. There are a lot of questionable drivers out there who speed, drive recklessly, and present a real hazard to others on the road. But it has nothing to do with diabetes.
If you’re taking your insulin or other medications properly you can eat whatever you want even if you have diabetes.
Yes, it’s very important to take your doctor prescribed diabetes medications. But that doesn’t mean it’s open season and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want. A healthy diabetes diet is key to successfully controlling your blood sugar and living your best life each day. Plus, a healthy diet can also help you avoid other chronic complications related to diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and high blood pressure. At the end of the day, eating too many unhealthy foods will hinder your blood sugar control and that’s just not worth it.
You can’t drink alcohol if you’re diabetic.
If your diabetes is properly managed and your blood sugar tests tell you that things are under control, a drink now and then is perfectly fine (unless your physician has told you otherwise). You definitely don’t want to go overboard as too much alcohol can cause your blood sugar to drop below target levels. So think moderation. It’s also recommended to avoid cocktails made with sweet mixers and stick to non-sugary drinks like beer, wine, and spirits. Another good idea is to test your blood sugar 24 hours after drinking alcohol just to be safe. Take the right precautions and there’s no reason you can’t raise a glass and say, “cheers!”.
Diabetes isn’t all that serious of a disease.
Because so many people are living with diabetes - more than 34 million in the United States alone - it’s often seen as no big deal (usually by those who haven’t been diagnosed with it). While medical breakthroughs like glucose meters and test strips, and continuous glucose monitoring systems, have made it easier to live with diabetes today than at any point in history, the disease is still a very serious one. Related complications include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, eye issues and many other serious conditions. If left unchecked, diabetes can even lead to death. According to 2019 statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes accounted for more than 87,000 deaths in the United States, making it the 7th leading cause of death. Suffice it to say, diabetes is serious. The good news is you can live with it successfully, as long as you follow your doctor-approved treatment plan and make smart lifestyle choices.
Living with diabetes is difficult and ridiculously expensive.
We’ll call this one half true. Living with diabetes does require daily effort and even asks you to sacrifice some of the things others can do in life without worry. It can also get pretty expensive to purchase the daily supplies and tools you need to effectively manage your disease. However, there is some relief here and we’re proud to offer it at Diabetic Warehouse.
As one of the nation’s leading online providers of diabetic supplies from top manufacturers such as FreeStyle, One Touch, Dexcom, Easy Comfort, Accu-Chek, True Metrix and many others, we can save you up to 65% off what you’ll pay your local pharmacy or other suppliers.
Visit us to save on glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, infusion sets, continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM), ketone test strips, blood pressure monitors, and all your diabetic accessories. We offer free delivery on every order to your home or office.
There are a lot of things you’ll see and hear about diabetes that just aren’t true. The best thing you can do to managing your disease is to listen to your doctor, test your blood sugar regularly, follow your treatment schedule, and make those healthy lifestyle choices that lead to better blood sugar control. These things work and that’s no myth.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.