According to the CDC, about 38 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of those adults are unaware they have it. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body turns food into energy. People with diabetes don’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. The condition can cause too much blood sugar to accumulate in the bloodstream, which over time, can cause other serious conditions including heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
The diagnosis of diabetes can be confusing – What causes the condition? Can I eat how I used to? Am I more susceptible to other illnesses because of my condition? Below, we look at some myths and share the facts about living with diabetes.
Myth: I can’t get diabetes if no one in my family has the condition
Fact: Having a family member with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes is considered a risk factor for developing diabetes but it is not the only possible cause. The CDC labels other risk factors for diabetes including:
- Having prediabetes.
- Being overweight.
- Physically active less than 3 times a week.
- Had gestational diabetes
- Are an African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, or Alaska Native person. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian American people are also at higher risk.
Myth: If I am diabetic, I have to only eat special foods.
Fact: There are no special foods that will help regulate diabetes. Healthy eating is a common way to manage diabetes, as with any health condition. The American Diabetes Association states that a possible healthy eating plan for diabetes can include lots of non-starchy vegetables, limiting added sugars, swapping refined grains for whole grains, and prioritizing whole foods over highly processed foods when possible.
Myth: People with diabetes get sick more often or are more susceptible to illnesses
Fact: No. Having diabetes does not increase the risk of getting sick from illnesses such as the flu or common cold. According to the ADA, having diabetes can make dealing with illnesses harder which can lead to more serious conditions.
Myth: I can catch diabetes from someone with the condition.
Fact: No. Diabetes is not contagious.
At LHC Group, our diabetes management program, Choose Control, empowers patients to take ownership of managing their diabetes. Our clinical professionals can help answer your questions about your condition and what managing it can look like for you.
With Choose Control, you can dispel the myths surrounding diabetes and live well with your condition.