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Diabetes - Common Misconceptions

1 in 10 adults have diabetes according to the CDC, and by 2050, as many as 1 in 3 adults will have the disease. You may be surprised at the causes, treatment and misconceptions of this chronic, and often deadly, disease.

The first big misconception is that diabetes is not that serious. Diabetes is one of the major causes of heart disease, stroke, adult blindness, and leg and foot amputations not caused by injury. Many people with type 2 diabetes (the most common form) may go years before being diagnosed because they downplay their symptoms or believe them to be other causes.

The second misconception is that eating too much sugar causes diabetes. Everyone can benefit from eating less sugar since sugar is not a nutritional food supply and may cause other negative health issues. However, it can't be said that eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

People who are overweight have diabetes. Having a body mass index over 25 is just but one of several risk factor for diabetes, however there are many overweight people who don't ever get the disease. Having a body mass index of 30 or more is considered to be a major risk factor.

Having diabetes means being on a restricted diet, this is another misconception. People with diabetes should try to follow the same healthful eating guidelines as everyone else, including choosing foods that are lower in fat, higher in nutrients, and contain an appropriate amount of calories.

Having diabetes means taking insulin. With type 1 diabetes insulin is something that is prescribed but not with type 2 diabetes. In many cases, proper diet, exercise, and oral medications, can keep type 2 diabetes under control for some time.

Only people who are older get diabetes. In todays world children as young as age 5 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. To prevent diabetes in children, good habits should be encouraged for the entire family. This means less TV time, more physical activity, less junk food, and smaller portions.

Other risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Being older than 45

  • Family history of diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Acanthosis nigricans (condition causing dark, thickened skin around the armpits or neck)

  • Gestational diabetes during pregnancy

  • Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs raises the risk

  • Lack of regular physical activity

  • Certain ethnic groups are at a higher risk

Symptoms where you should consider asking your doctor to test you for diabetes:

  • Frequent trips to the bathroom at night

  • Experience extreme thirst

  • Overwhelming fatigue

  • Blurry Vision

  • A continuation of infections

An early diagnosis can help ward off complications and a healthy lifestyle can help to keep things under better control.

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