Do You Know Diabetes?
Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, but misunderstandings about this disease abound. There are many myths about diabetes that make it difficult for people to believe some of the hard facts – such as diabetes is a serious and potentially deadly disease. These myths can create a picture of diabetes that is not accurate and full of stereotypes and stigma. In honor of American Diabetes Month, see if you can cut through the clutter by taking this issue’s quiz.
1. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. (True/False)
2. Symptoms of diabetes include frequent colds and low energy caused by blood sugar fluctuations. (True/False)
3. Increasingly, diabetes is going undetected. (True/False)
4. People with diabetes can eat chocolate and sweets. (True/False)
5. Type 1 diabetes affects mainly kids, and type 2 diabetes affects mainly adults. (True/False)
6. A diabetes diagnosis means you have to have insulin injections the rest of your life. (True/False)
1. False. “A calorie is a calorie, and it doesn’t really matter where it comes from,” says John B. Buse, M.D., Ph.D., former president of medicine and science for the American Diabetes Association. But eating too much sugar can promote obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes.
2. False. Diabetes often goes undetected because it has no obvious symptoms. In fact, nearly 6 million Americans have diabetes and don’t know it. Sometimes, the first “symptoms” of diabetes are serious complications such as heart disease, blindness or kidney failure.
3. False. Twenty-four percent of diabetes is undiagnosed, down from 50 percent 10 years ago. Still, if you’re over 45 and haven’t had a fasting blood glucose test, make an appointment with your doctor today.
4. True. There are no “off-limits” foods to people with diabetes. “Calories and total carbohydrate content of a meal is what’s important. Where they come from is less important,” Buse says.
5. True. But between one-third to one-half of children with new diabetes diagnoses actually have type 2, Buse says. “We used to think kids got one and adults got the other,” he says, quickly defining the difference. In type 1, the cells that make insulin have been destroyed. In type 2, the body doesn’t use insulin effectively. Insulin is necessary for the body to use blood glucose for energy.
6. False. “Less than half of the people with diabetes in the U.S. now take insulin,” Buse says. In fact, 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which, Buse says, can often be managed purely through diet and exercise.
3-4: You get a D—for diabetes.
0-2: It’s time to learn more. Visit diabetes.org.
GMC's certified dieticians are trained to help people with pre-diabetes and diabetes. They will work with you to create a customized plan to meet your needs. To learn more, call 678-312-6040 or visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/diabetes.