Five Myths About Diabetes

1. I have borderline diabetes or just a touch of diabetes.
You either have it or you don't. Currently, guidelines are being developed to use a common blood test called the A1C for diagnosing, managing, and predicting the course of diabetes.

2. I don't know why I got diabetes, I never eat sweets.

Your body turns most of the food you eat into glucose — sugar — for energy. When you overeat, your body turns the calories it doesn't need for energy into fat. And being overweight puts you at risk for developing diabetes.

3. I can't eat carbohydrates; they make my blood sugar go high.

It's true that blood suger rises after eating even for people who don't have diabetes. But carbohydrates are your body's fuel, and without them you won't have much energy. About half of the food you eat every day should be carbohydrates.

4. I feel fine, why should I be concerned about my diabetes.

Diabetes generally has no symptoms until the blood glucose is quite high. Even then the symptoms can be sort of vague — increased thirst, increased urination and fatigue —and easily blamed on something else. A lot of people are walking around with diabetes and don't know it. If it's not diagnosed and brought under control, it can cause serious complications. That's one reason diabetes is sometimes called a silent killer.

5. If I really take care of myself, always follow my meal plan and exercise faithfully, I can avoid taking diabetes medication.

Unfortunately this may not always be true. Diabetes is a progressive disease, and there are a lot of factors in how it progresses. But in many cases a person can stave off the progression of the disease by good diabetes self-management.

This article is adapted from Top 10 Diabetes Myths, on the Living with Diabetes blog by Mayo Clinic diabetes educators Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N., and Peggy Moreland, R.N.

There is much more information about diabetes on special websites by The Mayo Clinic, the American Diabetes Association, and The Centers for Disease Control.

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