March 22 is the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Alert Day®. In the spirit of raising awareness, we invite you to challenge what you think you know about the disease!
Myth: Diabetes is contagious, like a cold or the flu
Fortunately, this myth doesn’t hold a shred of truth! There’s no way to “transmit” diabetes, andbeing close to someone who has it does not increase your risk.
However, some diabetes risks may be genetic and passed through a family. But these risks may not be very strong. For example, in cases of identical twins who share 100% of the same genes, if one twin has diabetes, there’s only about a 50% chance the other twin will have it, too.
Myth: There’s only one kind of diabetes
Like many people, you probably hear the word ‘diabetes’ and think of people who have to do the finger prick and inject themselves with insulin every day. That’s only part of the story.
There’s type 1 diabetes, which used to be called youth-onset diabetes. People have type 1 diabetes because their immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. This condition usually appears in childhood, and people who have it need to give themselves insulin injections every day in order to control their blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common kind, affecting 25 million Americans. With type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but it’s either not enough or some of the body’s cells can’t process it properly. It’s milder than type 1 but can still cause significant problems if not identified and treated.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects pregnant women. In some cases, gestational diabetes may resolve itself after pregnancy, but it does put women at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
There’s another category known as prediabetes. It means you don’t yet have diabetes but your blood sugar is higher than normal. By making some healthy lifestyle changes, it is possible to reduce your risk so that you never develop diabetes.
Myth: When you have diabetes, you know it
Right now, about one in four people who have diabetes don’t even know they have it. Less than 12% of those with prediabetes are aware of it, because it often has no symptoms. So no, many of those who have the disease don’t have a clue.
Myth: Anyone who has diabetes needs insulin shots and finger prick tests every day
For those with type 1 or more advanced cases of type 2 diabetes, managing their condition can require daily insulin injections and blood sugar testing. But for many of those with type 2 or those who’ve been identified as prediabetic, treatment is often as simple as daily, healthy living.
Myth: Once you’re diabetic, no more cake or candy for you
The key to managing diabetes successfully is sticking to a healthy eating plan with a wide variety of foods – but many of those foods, especially those high in sugar, should be enjoyed in moderation. Depending on the severity of the disease and other health factors, many diabetes sufferers are able to indulge in sweet treats on an occasional basis (which is actually a great recommendation for most of us).
Myth: Only overweight people have diabetes
Being overweight is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but it’s not the only factor. There are many people at a normal weight who have diabetes. And the opposite is also true: there are many overweight people who never develop diabetes.
Myth: More than anything, diabetes is just a big inconvenience
Left unmanaged, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, and nerve damage. In extreme cases, it can require the amputation of the feet, and lead to coma or even death. So if you’re diagnosed and worry about the hassle of checking your blood sugar and changing your diet, it’s a small price to pay to live a long and healthy life!
Myth: Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult and expensive
AltaMed is here to support your family and your health goals. In addition to giving you tips on how you can have fun while staying active all year long and eat healthier versions of the food you love, AltaMed has friendly doctors that can make personalized recommendations just for you. By making a few little changes over time, you can maintain a healthy weight, cut your risk for diabetes, and grow healthy!
If you’ve been diagnosed as having prediabetes or diabetes, think of AltaMed as your one-stop health management shop, with everything you need to be your healthiest you.
We surround you with care that includes:
• Complete medical treatment and services for diabetes management, including A1C testing, eye and foot exams, and dental checkups.
• Pharmacy services to help you stay on track with your prescriptions and your testing.
• One-on-one health education – you may even be qualified to work with a registered dietician.
• We also have additional services that address your mental health, home care, and more.
Call us today at 888-499-9303 and let’s talk about keeping you healthy.