The 10 Worst Myths about Diabetes

Patient Expert
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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.

“Diabetes is a disease that gets progressively worse”

The notion that your diabetes will get worse the longer you live is one of the most dangerous myths. It’s only progressive when you follow the same outdated advice: “Just get your A1C down to 7.0; eat a high carb, high glycemic diet; exercise when you feel like it for 20 minutes a day; lose 10 percent of your body weight.” While it’s easy to do, it’s not enough to prevent worsening of the disease.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, non-traumatic amputations, and end-stage renal disease in America.”

When well-managed, diabetes-related complications can largely be avoided. Only poor management of your diabetes can lead to complications.

“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.”

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

People with diabetes are longing for a cure and diabetes organizations are playing into the hype that one is just around the corner. The Tour de Cure” is perhaps our biggest annual event and the message we keep hearing is that “with enough funding and support, diabetes will be cured within 10 years.”  Sadly, this false sense of optimism can lead to people easing up rather than carefully managing their diabetes.

“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 doctors often 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.

“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. So Just accept that you need your injection.

“My A1C level of 7.0 is good enough”

A major clinical study called the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) found that those with diabetes greatly 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.”

“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.

“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.

“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.