Everything You Wish Your Friends and Family Knew About Diabetes

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Myth #3:

“Diabetes is a disease caused by being overweight.”

A pair of female feet on a bathroom scale

Fact:

Undiagnosed or untreated Type 1 diabetes can actually cause people to lose weight. While being overweight is a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, it is dangerous to underestimate other risk factors. Age, ethnicity, and family history are equally important (see above). Diet and exercise, however, are important aspects of managing both types of diabetes.

Myth #4:

“Diabetes is preventable and curable.”

doctor with plaster

Fact:

There is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes. Further, as the exact cause is unknown, prevention isn’t possible. What is possible? Preventing or delaying complications by living a healthy lifestyle and keeping numbers in control.

Type 2 is a little more complicated in this regard, as the risk factors are varying. While it is possible, in some cases, to prevent or delay the disease, the aforementioned risk factors can make it more difficult. A healthy diet and exercise is a great way to reduce risk of becoming pre-diabetic, and if you have Type 2, it can reduce the risk of complications.

Myth #5:

“Diabetes is an easily manageable disease, and not that serious.”

Glucometer and other instruments

Fact:

Both Type 1 and Type 2 are incredibly complicated diseases. Type 1 entails insulin injections and using a glucometer to check blood glucose levels nearly 4 times a day. Type 2 requires regular blood sugar testing (typically 1-2 times a day), and many eventually become insulin dependent. That’s a lot of needles. Further, your lifestyle choices have to be monitored all day, every day. This means weighing everything you consume, fitting in activity even when you’re exhausted, and never getting a day off from your disease.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 carry serious complications with them. They are currently the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure, and are critical risk factors for strokes, leg amputations, and heart disease. Further, people with diabetes are at increased risk of skin conditions, often suffer from painful nerve damage (neuropathy), and studies suggest possibly even Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important not to minimize either disease.

L.D. and her ten-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved to Seattle two years ago from Tucson, Arizona. They chose Seattle because they heard that's where they kept all the good coffee - plus Ella learned about grass. L. De Mello likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.
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