Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Type 2 Diabetes - Debunking Diabetes Myths

We all have good reason to be concerned about Type 2 diabetes. An estimated 17 million people in the United States alone actually have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. That is 1 in 17 people. There is a lot of information floating around about this form of diabetes... unfortunately, some of it is incorrect. Since this is such a serious, and possibly life-threatening illness, it pays to have your facts straight.

Here is the lowdown on some of the most common myths concerning diabetes.

Myth: There is no such thing as being a "borderline diabetic".

False. The name for someone who is a "borderline diabetic" is pre-diabetic. This means you have some of the symptoms that can propel you into full-blown Type 2 diabetes, but you haven't yet developed it. You would think either you have diabetes, or you don't. In one way that's true but like many ongoing health issues, Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly over many years and for some reason, too much sugar is floating around in your bloodstream.

Normal people have fasting blood sugar levels below 100 mg/dL (5.5 mmol/L). A measurement between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL (5.5 and 6.9 mmol/L) means you have impaired fasting glucose or pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetics can still avoid developing Type 2 diabetes if they change their lifestyle immediately.

Myth: Diabetics can't eat sweets.

False. Although diabetics have to closely monitor their intake of sweets, they are still permitted... as long as they are eaten in moderation. For instance, if a diabetic wants a piece of cheesecake, they need to plan ahead and eat according to keep their blood sugar under control. This way, when they eat the cheesecake, their blood sugar is already being managed and the sugar won't cause a significant shift in glucose.

Myth: Diabetes is caused from eating too much sugar.

False. Diabetes is a combination of many different factors. The vast majority of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. In fact, the fat in your body may be the main reason you have diabetes. In a diabetic's body, it is either not producing enough insulin or the amount of insulin produced isn't being processed properly. That means the sugar is not being broken down and utilized in the preferred manner. Genetics can also play a factor in the formation of Type 2 diabetes as children with a diabetic parent are much more prone to developing it also.

Those who are not sensitive to their body's insulin, do not monitor their diet or carry excessive weight, especially in their midsection, can easily develop Type 2 diabetes when combined with genetic factors..

Myth: Diabetes is for life: once you have it, you always have it.

Partially false. Type 2 diabetes is only as bad as the individual allows it to be. There are diabetics who:

    * closely monitor their blood sugar,
    * watch their weight,
    * exercise regularly, and
    * maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.

Eventually, they can improve their health so dramatically there is no visible sign of diabetes. Many are even able to completely come off of their medication. But this doesn't mean they can do whatever they want. They still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If they ever revert back to their old, destructive ways, diabetes will come right back. Suffering from Type 2 diabetes doesn't have to be for life, but guarding against it does.

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