Wednesday, March 20, 2019

4 Common Myths about Diabetes.

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Millions of people have diabetes, and millions more are at risk of it. Yet there is a significant amount of misinformation about the condition, some of it out of date, some of it outright wrong, and other misconceptions that are somewhere in the middle. Here are four common myths about diabetes. We’ll also explain what precipitated some of these myths and the truth behind them.

Fat Equals Type 2 Diabetes

This is a misconception that cuts both ways. Obesity is a contributing risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. However, family history, age, and ethnicity are also serious risk factors. Many overweight people never develop diabetes. And you can have a normal weight and develop diabetes.

Thin people with excessive visceral fat and a sedentary lifestyle may have a higher death risk than heavier people. A 2012 JAMA study found that overweight people with diabetes had a lower death rate from cardiovascular disease than thin people with the disorder. The type of fat seems to matter more than the amount of fat. Visceral fat that piles around organs produces inflammatory compounds that lower insulin sensitivity, and thin sedentary people may have proportionally more of that fat than someone with fifty pounds of jiggly fat. This may explain why thin diabetics die from heart disease at higher rates than the obese with the same condition.

Sugar Consumption Causes Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disorder. The body attacks and destroys the pancreas. Diet has no impact on the odds of someone developing Type 1 diabetes.

High sugar consumption does increase one’s odds of developing Type 2 diabetes, as well as becoming overweight, also a risk factor in developing diabetes. The type of sugar actually affects one’s odds. For example, drinking sugary drinks is strongly correlated to one’s risk of developing diabetes. Juice with added sugar has a similar effect. A 2015 BMJ study discovered that consuming one sugary drink per day raised one’s risk of developing diabetes by 18%. A JAMA study found that diabetes risk rates doubled when women went from consuming one sugary drink a week to one a day.

A related myth is that diabetes must avoid sugar entirely. This isn’t true. They can eat sugar, carbohydrates, and sweets in moderation. They simply need to manage their insulin intake to compensate.

People with Diabetes Cannot Exercise

One common myth is that it is dangerous for people with diabetes to work out. People with diabetes can exercise. The only concern is monitoring blood sugar, since someone who is working out needs to ensure that their blood sugar levels don’t get too low. However, exercise isn’t prohibited to someone who has diabetes. Instead, they simply need to balance activity with carbohydrate intake and medicine. This means those with diabetes can even engage in extreme physical activity if they plan it right. One recommendation is to test your blood sugar 30 minutes before working out and every 30 minutes during exercise to avoid problems.

Diabetics should get exercise. Many studies have shown that physical activity helps lower blood sugar levels. One option is to select workout machines and routines that make it easy to go at your own pace and stop and rest. Working out regularly on an elliptical machine, for instance, is an excellent choice for those suffering with diabetes at any age. If you’re interested in buying an elliptical machine, you can find reviews on a site like to help you work our whether it’s the right product for you.

Diabetes Has No Symptoms

This myth has an element of truth since a quarter of the people with the condition don’t know it. The reason many don’t realize it is because the early symptoms are so mild they don’t realize that something is wrong.

A common symptom is being excessively thirsty, such as feeling dehydrated even after you drink water. This leads many to go to the bathroom a lot. Diabetics may lose weight without changes to their lifestyle. Another symptom is feeling tired all the time. Don’t assume you can tell if your blood sugar is too high, whether you know you’re a diabetic or not. Test your blood sugar levels to find out.

Another related myth is that there is always a way to know if your sugar levels are too high or low. In some cases, the signs of low or high sugar are so subtle that they can only be identified through a test.

If you’re in a hypoglycemic state, you might start feeling symptoms like shakiness or sweating. But after a while, a lot of diabetics end up developing what is commonly referred to as hypoglycemia unawareness, which is a condition that hinders the person’s ability to recognize symptoms. That’s why you should follow your doctor’s instructions as to how often you should be checking your blood sugar levels.


Diabetes is a common disorder that alters one’s life but doesn’t have to limit it. If you think you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about testing and any lifestyle changes you may need to make.

Staff Writer; Shawn Ford

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