I've had diabetes for over 16 years now and there were times I would hear things about diabetes that were just completely false.  I'm sure this is the case for a lot of diabetics as well.  Below are some of the myths that seem to come up quite often.

Myth #1: Diabetics can't eat sweets

The first thing that comes to people's minds when they first meet a diabetic is probably how it sucks to not be able to eat chocolate or ice cream.  While sugar does seem to be the enemy, it's completely ok for diabetics to eat sweets as long as they're watching their blood glucose levels.

For diabetics like me who take insulin, for example, we can make adjustments to the amount of insulin we take to account for the extra glucose.  They key thing is being able to control our blood sugar levels and we can pretty much eat anything non-diabetics can eat without the risk of any complications. 

Myth #2: Diabetes is contagious

Diabetes occurs when a person's pancreas is not producing enough insulin, not producing any insulin at all, or the body is just not responding properly to the insulin produced.

You can't catch it from making contact with people with diabetes or even through blood transfusion. 

Myth #3: Only old people can get diabetes

I actually thought this was the case as well when I was younger, until I developed the disease myself when I was 13.

It's true that a lot of people who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes tend to be older, usually over 40, but you can develop diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) at any age.

There was a point that Type 1 diabetes (usually insulin dependent) was referred to as  'juvenile diabetes' as it was pretty rare and only seemed to occur in children and young adults.  But it is now known that you can get either type at any age.

Myth #4: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

This is probably the most common myth you hear.  While it's true that being overweight, which could have been caused by eating too much sugary food, can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, there hasn't been any evidence found that directly links the amount of sugar a person eats and that person developing diabetes.

For Type 1 diabetes, there have been cases where even babies have developed the disease so it's very unlikely that it's due to eating too much sugar.  While there appears to be some evidence that Type 1 is hereditary, no one really knows for sure what causes it.

Myth #5: People with diabetes are doomed

While this may have been true 100 years ago before the discovery and use of insulin, most people with diabetes nowadays can have a very normal life.

Sure, you may need to take insulin shots or wear an insulin pump for the rest of your life, but it's really not that bad.  It's just another routine to get used to like brushing your teeth. I take insulin shots and test my blood sugar 3-4 times a day and it takes less than a minute to do each time.

Diabetics can pretty much do anything a non-diabetic can do: race cars, become a rock star , an actress, and even an olympic athlete.

Managing diabetes is getting better thanks to advancement in technology and medicine.  I'm quite optimistic that a cure will be found within the next 20 years, but even if it doesn't happen I'm not too worried.

Tags: diabetes

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