One of the challenges of living with diabetes can be deciphering fact from fiction. It might be confusing to figure out what you can and can’t eat and how to make healthy lifestyle changes to keep complications from arising. However, if you are armed with the right information, managing your diabetes while living a normal life is entirely possible.
Debunking Diabetes Myths
There are a lot of myths about diabetes, so let’s take the time to debunk some of the most popular ones now. Learning about the disease can lead to making better lifestyle choices to keep you healthier and allow you to make informed decisions when it comes to diabetes management.
- Myth #1: Eating a special diabetes diet is a must. Following a healthy meal plan is a must; a diabetes diet follows the same rules as a healthy meal plan for anyone. Eating whole grains, healthy fats, lean protein, non-starchy vegetables and fruit is recommended for everyone. In fact, some of the special diabetic foods you find on the shelves offer no real benefit- and they’re probably more expensive, too.
- Myth #2: Diabetes is really not that serious of a disease. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to take the disease seriously. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined and nearly doubles your chance for a heart attack. Properly managing the disease will lower your risk for all the health complications it can bring later.
- Myth #3: Only people who are overweight get diabetes. Being overweight is one risk factor for diabetes, but not all people who are overweight will get the disease. Other factors like age, genetics and ethnicity also play a role.
- Myth #4: You can’t have any sugar ever again. Go ahead, order that dessert! You can still enjoy a sweet treat from time to time. Just make sure you’re following a healthy meal plan, getting the right amount of exercise, and you aren’t overindulging every day. Dessert should be a small portion or saved for a special occasion.
- Myth #5: Living with diabetes means you’ll be sick all the time. While it’s true that getting sick can make diabetes more difficult to manage, you’re at no more risk of actually getting sick than anyone else. It’s advised that if you’re living with diabetes to get an annual flu shot to help keep the disease under control at all times.
- Myth #6: Diabetes is contagious. Diabetes can run in your family and your lifestyle choices can play a large role in whether or not you develop it, but you can’t “catch” it from others like you would the common cold.
- Myth #7: Needing to use insulin means that you aren’t managing your diabetes correctly. Diabetes can be a progressive disease, meaning that over time your condition can worsen or become more serious. The body can start to gradually produce less and less insulin, and even with oral medications it can be difficult to keep your glucose levels normal. Using insulin gets your levels back to normal, which is the goal of proper diabetes management.
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