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The 5 biggest myths about diabetes

There are many misconceptions surrounding diabetes.

Diabetes is extremely complex. More than 30 million people in the United States have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But, despite its prevalence, many misconceptions are spread about the disease that can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Whether you have diabetes, have a loved one who does, or are concerned about your risk for a diagnosis—it’s important that you have the correct information.

Check out five common myths below about diabetes and discover the truth about the disease.

If you’re overweight, you will develop type 2 diabetes. The United States obesity rate is around 36 percent, while the diabetes rate is just under 9 percent. This obesity rate is approximately four times higher, which shows that not all who are obese have diabetes.

Additionally, thin people are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes too. While excess weight can increase your risk of diabetes onset, there’s a lot more to it. Having a family history of diabetes, having high blood pressure, or being sedentary are just a few of the many other factors that can contribute.

Diabetes is caused by overeating sugar. Eating three bowls of ice cream a day isn’t the best idea for any diet, but ultimately, it doesn’t cause diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger its onset, and genetics and lifestyle factors cause type 2 diabetes. An excess of calories from any food source (not just sweets!) can contribute to weight gain, which increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Sugar is not the lone culprit.

Having prediabetes means you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. More than 1 in 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes, and for those affected, up to 70 percent of patients eventually develop type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes can be utilized to reduce the risk of prediabetes developing into diabetes: physical exercise, a balanced diet, and advice from a dietician can help to stop the progression significantly.

People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses. You’re just as likely to get a cold with or without diabetes. But, symptoms can be much more severe with diabetes, since it’s harder to keep your blood glucose in your target range when you’re sick. It’s very important for those with diabetes to take preventative action to stop the spread of germs. This includes simple steps like getting an annual flu shot and drinking lots of fluids.

No one in your family has diabetes, so you don’t need to worry. Family history is only one of several risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Other influencers, such as an unhealthy diet or a lack of exercise, play a significant role in increasing risk for diabetes. Diabetes CAN run in families, but many people diagnosed with the disease have no close family members who have it.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you have any concerns, please speak with your doctor.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we initiated Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness, and prevention. November is American Diabetes Month.

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