10 Facts and Myths About Diabetes

By: Michele Wolfson

Now that Thanksgiving is around the corner, those who are affected by diabetes may be worried about what they are going to eat and how the festive food is going to affect their bodies. Is their destiny this season to say goodbye to their momma's homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie?

Food plays a central role in family celebrations and holidays, especially at Thanksgiving. It's important for people that are living with diabetes to know the facts and the myths about this disease in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This list may surprise you!

Here are ten myths and facts about Diabetes that you should know about:

Myth: The complications of diabetes are not preventable by staying at or very near your ideal body weight.

If you take care of yourself with diabetes, keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar under control, you can lead a long healthy life devoid of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations that used to be the scourge of diabetes.

Fact: Diabetes is caused by defects in how the body produces and uses insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.

If your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dL or higher after an overnight fast, you can be diagnosed with diabetes.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you can kiss your pumpkin pie goodbye because carbohydrates and simple sugars are dangerous molecules in food that actually cause diabetes.

Diabetes is not caused by sugars and carbohydrates but can be worsened by too high an intake of these substances.  Small amounts can be OK as long as they are incorporated in a sensible diet plan.  Even modest amounts of alcohol are allowed.

Fact: A person with type-2 diabetes produces insulin but it does not work effectively.

According to research, two effective strategies can help prevent type 2 diabetes: Lose 5 to 10 percent of your poundage and exercise at least 150 minutes a week.

Myth: If you feel OK, you don't have diabetes and it will go away if you ignore it.

Diabetes has no symptoms early on, sometimes for months or years.  Only when the blood sugar rises more than twice normal will the classic symptoms of thirst and increased urination appear.

Fact: Diabetes is becoming an epidemic in this country largely because of weight gain and inactivity, but can be well controlled if it's not ignored.

Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Since our nation is getting fatter, it's estimated that one of every three Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050 unless we take steps to stop it, says the American Diabetes Association.

Myth: The diet to control diabetes is complicated, expensive and pointless and the disease will inevitably lead to heart and vascular problems even if it is controlled.

Diet control of diabetes is a simple sensible diet for the general public, paying attention to total calorie intake as well as carbohydrate intake.

Fact: Eating fish may help prevent diabetes.

Researchers from UC San Diego found that omega-3 fatty acids in fish help improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation - conditions that can lead to diabetes.

Myth: A person with diabetes can eat corn till the cows come home because it is a vegetable and isn't a "starchy" one that needs to be eaten in moderation in order to prevent spikes in blood sugar.

Certain vegetables are higher in carbohydrates than others and need to be limited, such as corn and potatoes.

Fact: The two most important numbers for a diabetic to know is their blood pressure and cholesterol (even more than their blood sugar according to medical studies).

"ABC" is how the American Diabetes Association reminds us to keep our numbers normal: A1C (a blood test to tell you if your diabetes is in good control), Blood pressure, and Cholesterol.

Photo: bodytel

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