Back to Diabetes Basics Diabetes Myths

People with diabetes face many myths that can get in the way of both their diabetes care and enjoying life. Each week, we debunk one of the most common myths about diabetes to help you live better with diabetes.

MYTH #1:   People with diabetes can't eat sugar.
TRUTH:   People with diabetes can enjoy sweets without sacrificing diabetes control. Desserts and other sweets can play the same role in the overall nutrition of people with diabetes as they do for others. A carb is a carb is a carb.

MYTH #2:   A person can have a "touch" of diabetes.
TRUTH:   Having a "touch" of diabetes is no more possible than being a "little bit pregnant." High blood sugars are damaging and dangerous. If you have diabetes, you have it. There are several ways to diagnose diabetes, but the most common is simple: a fasting blood sugar greater than 126 mg/dl means you have diabetes. To learn more about the "numbers that make a difference," see Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes.

MYTH #3:   My doctor takes care of my diabetes.
TRUTH:   Most health problems are temporary. What the doctor does in this kind of situation is the key to recovery: doing the right surgery, choosing the right medicine, etc. Diabetes is different. What the person effected does is most important. If you leave it up to the doctor, you are almost sure to have poor control and a bad outcome.

MYTH #4:   As long as I feel OK, my blood sugar doesn't really matter.
TRUTH:   Blood sugars above the normal range damage eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels, and it normally doesn't hurt a bit! At least not until the damage is truly serious. Diabetes cannot be well managed by how you feel. To protect health, it must be managed by the numbers. If your HbA1c (a measure of average blood sugar control) is above 7%, it's time for a change!

MYTH #5:   "Bad diabetes" is the kind where you take insulin.
TRUTH:   Insulin is not the enemy! High blood sugar is! Most people with type 2 diabetes eventually need insulin - not because they have done anything wrong, or because their diabetes is now more serious or dangerous. They need it simply because their pancreas has worn out. They can no longer "squirt it out," so now they need to "squirt it in." The only "good" diabetes is controlled diabetes. It has nothing to do with the form of treatment.

MYTH #6:   Blood testing is only for people with "bad diabetes."
TRUTH:   The daily decisions of the person living with diabetes are the most important part of care, right from the start. Blood testing is the only way to learn what works. Every person with diabetes needs testing either to get into control or to stay there.

MYTH #7:   Healthy foods don't raise blood sugar.
TRUTH:   The balance between the amount of carbohydrate eaten and available insulin is what determines glucose control. Even nutrient-rich foods like whole wheat bread, carrots, and oatmeal can raise blood sugar to an unhealthy level if not balanced by insulin from either injections or the body's supply. Eyes and kidneys don't know the difference between a high blood sugar due to eating too much cake vs. too much fruit.

MYTH #8:   No matter what I do, I will get complications.
TRUTH:   Complications are not inevitable. They are brought on by the combination of high blood sugars, blood lipids and blood pressure. Control these measures near normal to protect health. Have the regular screening tests done to find any changes EARLY, when they can be successfully treated.

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Last Updated: Wednesday December 31, 2014 20:55:50
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