The 9 Worst Myths about Diabetes

Patient Expert
Medically Reviewed
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There are several myths surrounding diabetes — from silly misconceptions to some that are downright dangerous. At worst, they can give people false optimism or false pessimism and can lead to such disillusionment and despair that they may even stop caring about their health.


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“Diabetes is a disease that gets progressively worse”

The notion that your diabetes will get worse the longer you live is not accurate. Work with your healthcare team to learn as much as you can about diabetes management, optimize your glucose control, and minimize complications.


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“You can cure Type 2 diabetes by taking this miracle product”

If you have Type 2 diabetes, no “miracle cure” will bring back the beta cells of your pancreas. When your body is resistant to the insulin made by these cells, the pancreas compensates by making more insulin. Eventually, however, your body works so hard it can’t keep up, and the cells begin to die. Learn more at “Diabetes Scams and How to Foil Them.”


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“There will be a cure for diabetes within 10 years”

People with diabetes are longing for a cure and some diabetes organizations are playing into the hype that one is just around the corner. Sadly, this false sense of optimism can lead to people easing up rather than carefully managing their diabetes. Hopefully, there will be a cure at some point, but that possibility shouldn’t replace planning for the future and optimizing care now.


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“Having to take insulin means you failed”

While some think that insulin is considered a last resort to manage their diabetes, the fact is that doctorsoften start with insulin shots to quickly bring blood glucose levels down to normal. This is the best way to minimize the likelihood of getting the most serious complications from diabetes. It’s also not true that taking insulin means you can never stop.


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“Only junkies inject in public”

Injections of short-acting or rapid-acting insulin need to be administered right before eating. And at times, it needs to be done in a restaurant while sitting at the table. Sometimes you might feel exposed and vulnerable when you do this. But you have a right to take your medication, and you are doing a great thing for your health by taking your insulin when you need it.


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“My A1C level of 7.0 is good enough”

A major clinical study called the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) found that people reduced their risk of the most severe complications when they kept their “A1C levels as close as possible to the normal value of six percent or less.” But treatment goals might vary for different people, depending on the situation. There are many factors that determine your optimal glucose range. So, discuss your A1C goals with your healthcare team and don’t assume that this goal is the same for everyone.


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“Managing diabetes is all up to my doctor”

Just taking the pills or insulin your doctor prescribes isn’t enough to manage diabetes. Diet, exercise, and controlling stress is as much a part of diabetes management, if not more, than taking medication. Managing diabetes, more so than any other disease, depends on you much more than on the doctor.


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“Supplements aren’t drugs”

Some people prefer to take supplements rather than a prescription drug because they are concerned about the drug’s side effects. Still, any supplement that might help can also hurt you since they don’t receive the same scrutiny, testing, and standardization as prescription medications.


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“Type 2 diabetes isn’t too serious”

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have different causes, but either one can have the same serious consequences if you aren’t careful. Everyone who has Type 1 diabetes has to take insulin because all their beta cells are essentially dead. Meanwhile, about a fourth of those who have Type 2 diabetes also have to take insulin. But in any case, you have to carefully manage their diabetes.