Myth 1. “Diabetes is not serious”
Fact: All types of diabetes are serious and can have serious complications if not managed correctly, such as additional chronic disease diagnoses and reduced life expectancy. There is no such thing as ‘mild diabetes’.
Myth 2. “I am not overweight so I won’t get Type 2 diabetes”
Fact: Being overweight is just one of many risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes but it is not a direct cause.
The majority of Type 2s are overweight but some are not. It is estimated that 20% of all diagnosed with Type 2 are normal weight or even underweight.
Myth 3. “Type 2 Diabetes cannot be prevented”
Fact: Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented or delayed by normalising weight, eating healthily and exercising regularly. However, there are many risk factors for Type 2 which cannot be prevented such as age, family history, and ethnicity.
Myth 4. “I have Type 2 but I can get rid of it right?”
Fact: There is no cure for Diabetes. Your blood glucose levels can return to normal if you lose a lot of weight, eat healthily and begin regular exercise but you will always have diabetes.
The development of diabetes is an ongoing gradual process and sometimes despite best efforts you may find that you require increasing amounts of treatment to keep your blood glucose levels stable.
Myth 5. “I have diabetes so I can never eat sugar again”.
Fact: Yes you can. If it is a part of a healthy balanced diet then it is possible to include sugar in your diet. Everything in moderation.
Myth 6. “People with diabetes will go blind and lose their legs”
Fact: Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and is one of the many causes for amputation. However, if you lead a healthy lifestyle, stop smoking, control blood pressure and blood glucose levels and lose weight these complications are entirely preventable.
Myth 7. “People with diabetes cannot do certain jobs”
Fact: there are very few occupations that you are prevented from doing because you have diabetes.
A frontline armed forces role is perhaps the only job where you may be prevented from participating in if you have any type of diabetes. However, there are many other roles within the military that diabetes is not an issue for.
If you drive for a living then you may need extra medicals or health checks to maintain your licence.
Myth 8. “People with diabetes cannot play sport”
Fact: There are many professional sportsmen and women with both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. They do have to pay special attention when they are being active but they can participate fully as anyone without diabetes can.
Myth 9. “People with diabetes are always ill and going to the doctor”.
Fact: You are more at risk from colds, flu and other infections when you have diabetes, and that these infections can last a little longer than usual. Germs love sugar and diabetics are very sweet!! It is recommended that all people with diabetes have the flu jab.
Doctor visits are a necessary part of diabetes management. Routine screening by the doctor helps to identify potential diabetes issues that may need to be addressed.
Myth 10. “If I have type 2 diabetes can it turn into type 1?”
Type 1 and Type 2 are very different diseases with different causes and treatments. It is impossible to change your type.
Diabetes Educator, 360 Health & Community
Diabetes UK and Diabetes Australia