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Common Myths About Type 2 Diabetes, Debunked

Common Myths About Type 2 Diabetes, Debunked

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that affects more then 500 million people worldwide, and the numbers are still growing. Because it’s such a prevalent disease, there tends to be some confusion between common myths and facts about type 2 diabetes.

Let’s find out what these common myths about type 2 diabetes are, and set the facts straight.

Type 2 Diabetes: All You Need To Know

Common myths about type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is only hereditary

One of the most common misconception about type 2 diabetes is that it’s only hereditary. While it is indeed true that having a parent or relative with type 2 diabetes increases your risk of acquiring the condition, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to get it.

A person’s lifestyle and overall health plays a role in whether or not they develop type 2 diabetes. So it is important to be mindful of what you eat and how you care for your body.

You can’t have diabetes if you’re not overweight

It is true that being overweight or obese can increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes.

However, even people who are just a little overweight or even have a normal weight can develop type 2 diabetes.

This is one of the most common myths and fallacies about type 2 diabetes.

In fact, around 10-15% of patients with type 2 diabetes have a normal weight.

This means that people should not just focus on their weight, but on what they eat and their overall health as well if they want to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Eating a lot of sugar can cause type 2 diabetes

This is one of the most prevalent and common myths about type 2 diabetes. Eating a lot of sugar does not necessarily cause diabetes.

However, eating a lot of sugary foods can cause a person to become overweight or obese. Being overweight and obese are both known risk factors for diabetes.

So don’t be too afraid of eating a slice of cake, or drinking some sugary drinks every now and then.

What’s more important is that you don’t eat too many sugary foods, and you engage in daily exercise to help keep your body strong and healthy.

Type 2 diabetes can make you go blind and lose your limbs

This is another common myth about type 2 diabetes. While it is true that blindness and limb amputation are possible complications that result from uncontrolled cases of type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar levels and uncontrolled HBA1C), this does not happen to everyone.

Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can also lead to vision issues like cataracts and glaucoma, damage to nerves and/or kidneys, loss of feeling in the lower extremities, poor wound healing, and pins-and-needles sensations. The latter three can eventually lead to “diabetic foot,” which may require amputation if the patient goes without treatment.

A lot of type 2 diabetics live long and happy lives so long as they make sure to prioritize their health. This includes taking the right medication, eating the right food, and engaging in physical activity.

People with type 2 diabetes should not exercise

Another one of the myths and fallacies about type 2 diabetes is that people with this condition should avoid exercising.

But the reality is that engaging in moderate exercise can make it easier for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.

Of course, it’s still a good idea to consult it first with your doctor, and to not overdo your exercise. Playing sports and staying fit should not be a problem for type 2 diabetics.

Diabetics need to have a special diet

Another common myth about type 2 diabetes is that diabetics need to eat special food, or that they can no longer enjoy food like they used to.

While there are some restrictions on what diabetics should eat, one of the most important facts about type 2 diabetes is that diabetics just need to eat healthy food.

The ideal diet for a person with diabetes is pretty much the same as the ideal diet that people should have. This means that they should prioritize eating vegetables, fruits, and lean meat. They can still eat sugary or sweet foods, but they can only be eaten in moderation.

common myths about type 2 diabetes

If you need insulin, you’re not managing your diabetes well

Another misconception is that if a diabetic starts to take insulin, then they are not taking care of themselves. However, this is not always the case.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that gets worse over time. This means that even if a diabetic takes good care of their health, it is possible for their condition to progress to a point where they need insulin shots.

So taking insulin does not necessarily mean that a person is not careful about their health.

You don’t need to worry as long as you take your medication

One common myth about type 2 diabetes is that you just need to take your medication and you’ll be fine. While making sure to take your medication is indeed important, making lifestyle changes such as changing your diet, and engaging in exercise are also very important.

Managing diabetes takes a lot of effort, and simply taking your medication is not always enough.

Testing your blood sugar is not that important

Some people might think that they can just gauge their blood sugar levels depending on how they feel, or the food they ate that day. But this is not an accurate nor safe way to treat diabetes.

It’s important to test your blood sugar levels, especially if you’re taking insulin. This lets you know if you’re on the right track, or if you need to make some changes to improve your condition.

Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as type 1

Last but not the least, one of the most common myths about type 2 diabetes is that it is not as serious as type 1.

While some cases of type 2 diabetes can indeed be managed easier, especially during the earlier stages, this does not mean that type 2 diabetes is not serious.

The complications for both conditions are the same, and both are equally serious health conditions. This means that type 2 diabetics should not take their diagnosis lightly, and it is important for them to follow their doctor’s orders, as well as take steps to improve their overall health.

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Sources

Diabetes myths and facts: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000964.htm, Accessed October 8, 2020

Diabetes Myths – 10 Common Diabetes Myths, https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-myths.html, Accessed October 8, 2020

Facts and Myths | Diabetes & Nutrition Care | UofL Health, https://www.uoflhealthnetwork.org/diabetes-care-diabetes-facts-and-myths, Accessed October 8, 2020

Myths & facts – Diabetes Australia, https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/myths-facts/, Accessed October 8, 2020

Type 2 Diabetes Myths and Facts – Intolife, https://www.intolife.in/about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes/type-2-diabetes/myths-and-facts, Accessed October 8, 2020

Top 5 greatest myths about diabetes – Diabetes Voice, https://diabetesvoice.org/en/advocating-for-diabetes/top-5-greatest-myths-about-diabetes/, Accessed October 8, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Feb 04
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.
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