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6 Common Misconceptions About Type 2 Diabetes

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When it comes to information about Type 2 diabetes, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between fact and fiction. But, it’s critical to sort out truths from falsehoods to ensure you’re properly managing your diabetes and to help prevent serious complications such as nerve damage, vision loss, heart attacks or amputations.

Here are six common misconceptions about Type 2 diabetes:

#1¬†Diabetes isn’t that serious

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Two out of 3 people with diabetes end up dying from heart disease or stroke – both complications of diabetes – and diabetes causes more deaths annually than breast cancer and AIDS combined, according to the American Diabetes Association.

#2 Eating sweets is the main reason people get diabetes

Almost every food we consume is converted into glucose, the sugar that fuels our cells. Since sweets, such as chocolate, cookies and cake, are often extra calories we don’t need for energy – which our body then converts into fat – eating too many sweets isn’t healthy for anyone, but especially for those prone to diabetes. However, what you eat is not as important as how much.

#3 Diabetes is contagious

Diabetes can’t be caught from another person like a cold or the flu. While doctors don’t know exactly what triggers diabetes, certain risk factors are common to those who develop Type 2 diabetes, including family history and being overweight or obese.

#4 All overweight people develop diabetes

While being overweight or obese is a strong risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, most overweight people don’t get diabetes and some thin people do. Several other risk factors are also important in developing diabetes, including age, family history of diabetes and ethnicity.

#5 People with diabetes need special diabetic foods

A healthy diet for a person with diabetes looks much the same as a healthy diet for someone without the disease, and pricey, special foods are not necessary to help control high blood sugar. Concentrate on eating lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruit in modest portions.

#6 The need for insulin always means you’re not taking care for yourself

Type 2 diabetes is often a progressive disease. While many can control their blood sugar levels just after diagnosis with only oral medications and lifestyle changes, the body’s production of insulin can often taper off over time despite these measures, meaning insulin is then required to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range.