It’s a word you’ve heard on TV and read in magazines for years — diabetes. But how much do you really know about the disease? You may be shocked to learn that a few common myths, perpetuated for decades, continue to exist today.
In honor of American Diabetes Month, we’re sharing and dispelling the myths we hear each and every day from patients, family members, and the general public.
Myth #1: Eating too much sugar will give you diabetes.
While we’re certainly not advocating you eat a high-sugar diet, sugar alone won’t give you diabetes. Every cell in your body runs on glucose, so sugar (in moderation) is an essential part of any diet. Even diabetics can consume some sugar, they typically have to monitor their sugar intake and not let their blood glucose rise above a certain level.
Myth #2: Obesity causes diabetes.
Obesity is one of the many risk factors for diabetes. However, it doesn’t directly cause diabetes in the same way smoking causes lung cancer. This is supported by the fact that while roughly 35% of Americans are overweight, only 10% of Americans have diabetes. If obesity directly caused diabetes, those percentages would be much closer.
Myth #3: Only overweight people can get type 2 diabetes.
While it is more common to find type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight (as 85% of people with type 2 diabetes are considered obese or morbidly obese), there are thousands of “thin” people living with the disease. A major reason for this is a genetic predisposition. This is why knowing your family health history, and scheduling regular wellness checkups with your provider is vital.
Myth #4: People with diabetes can’t exercise.
Not only can people with diabetes exercise, but they should. Numerous studies have shown that regular, moderate physical activity – like walking - can help people with diabetes manage the disease by naturally lowering blood sugar levels.
Myth #5: Women with diabetes shouldn’t get pregnant.
Years ago, when diabetes was poorly understood and controlled, many health care providers believed this to be true. Though the risk of complications to mom and baby are slightly higher in diabetics, millions of women with diabetes give birth to healthy babies each year in America.
Cortland Regional Medical Center is here for all of your healthcare needs. From preventative care to emergency room services, rely on our healthcare specialists to provide you with compassionate care!