Debunking myths about diabetes

There are all sorts of crazy myths that surround diabetes, so it's tricky to separate fact from fiction. We're here to help set the record straight.

10 Things That You May Have Heard About Diabetes (that aren’t true)

  1. Diabetes skips a generation. Although you inherit diabetes, it does not skip a generation, nor is it always inherited. You may have no relatives with diabetes or you may have several. Both your genes and your lifestyle contribute to your risk for diabetes. (And, by the way, it doesn’t come from eating too much sugar.)
  2. People with diabetes shouldn’t eat carrots because they are high in sugar. Like all vegetables, carrots are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet and help give you the energy, vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. All carbohydrates affect your blood sugar the same amount, whether you are getting the same amount of carbohydrate in bread, pasta, sugar or vegetables. Three cups of uncooked and 1½ cup of cooked carrots will raise your blood sugar the same amount as one slice of bread. And just to clear up another myth, people with diabetes can eat sugar as part of their meal plan.
  3. I don’t have to worry, I just have borderline diabetes. There really is no such thing as borderline diabetes. You either have diabetes, pre-diabetes or no diabetes. Fasting blood sugar readings of greater than 126 mg/dl or more than one occasion are considered diabetes. A fasting blood sugar of 110-125 mg/dl on more than one occasion is considered pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a strong risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
  4. There is nothing you can do to keep from getting diabetes. We have learned recently that you can prevent diabetes at any age. In fact, losing a modest amount of weight (5-10% of your total weight), being moderately active (by walking or doing other forms of exercise for 150 minutes per week) can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  5. You should never use herbal or natural remedies when you have diabetes. The most natural of remedies is eating a healthy diet and exercise. Medically proven diabetes information shows that both meal planning and activity help to lower your blood sugar levels. Combining your prescribed medicines with a meal plan and physical activity gives you the most for your money. It is true that some herbal or other products can work against your diabetes medicines, may raise your blood sugar or may even be dangerous. Ask your pharmacist or health care provider if any of your medicines or health problems are affected by the herbal or vitamin products you take.
  6. Insulin causes complications, such as amputations, impotence or even death. Some people who take insulin develop complications from diabetes, but the complications aren’t caused by insulin. Keeping your blood sugar near the normal range by using a pills or insulin helps you to live a long and healthy life. Also many people believe that once you start taking insulin, you can never stop. While this used to be true, the insulin that is on the market today is better than in the past.
  7. You can’t get off of insulin. Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to stop taking insulin if they lose weight, start exercising or if the physical or emotional stress that raised their blood sugar is better.
  8. It’s a good idea for people with diabetes to soak their feet in vinegar every day. Many years ago, people with diabetes were told to soak their feet every day. We know now that soaking with water, vinegar and other products can make your skin dry – which can cause cracks in the skin where bacteria can enter.
  9. I feel fine as long as my blood sugar is less than 250. Isn’t that “normal” for me? Not really. Your usual blood sugar isn’t the same as normal blood sugar. Just because your blood sugar is usually high or you don’t notice any symptoms, does not mean that your body is not being affected by those levels.
  10. I don’t have to worry about my children getting diabetes until they are adults. Sadly, more and more young people are getting type 2 diabetes. It is caused from a combination of being overweight, getting less exercise and heredity. You can help your children and grandchildren prevent diabetes by encouraging them to keep active and stay at a reasonable weight.

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Written and Reviewed by OmniChannel Health Media Editorial Staff. Copyright © 2015 OmniChannel Health Media. All rights reserved.