Thursday, November 21, 2013

Diabetes Fact or Fiction

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), more than 25 million Americans (8.3 percent of the U.S. population) have diabetes, a condition that affects individuals of all ages, races and ethnic backgrounds. In recognition of the ADA’s designation of November as American Diabetes Month, we want to share the following facts and misconceptions about the disease.

Fact or Fiction?

1.  All types of diabetes are the same. FICTION.

The three most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. Type 1 affects approximately 5 percent of people who have diabetes. 
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and affects 90 to 95 percent of those who have diabetes. Type 2 occurs when the pancreas produces too little insulin or the body doesn’t use insulin properly. 
  • Gestational diabetes develops when pregnant women have high blood glucose levels during their pregnancy; it does not necessarily indicate diabetes will remain following delivery. 

2.  Diabetes may lead to other health problems. FACT. 

People with diabetes can develop complications with the eyes, nerves, skin, kidneys, feet and other areas. Talk with your physician and diabetes care team to learn how to manage your diabetes and help delay or prevent complications.

3.  Only overweight or obese people get diabetes. FICTION.

There are many risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, belly fat and inactivity. Other risk factors include: 

  • Family history 
  • Age>45
  • High blood pressure/cholesterol
  • Certain racial backgrounds
  • Prediabetes 
  • History of gestational diabetes

4.  Diabetes can be managed with a proper diet. FACT.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators lists “healthy eating” as one of its Seven Self-Care Behaviors™ for managing diabetes. People with diabetes can eat the same foods as people who don’t have diabetes. As with any healthy diet, a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, including starches, fruits and vegetables, will help keep blood glucose levels within desired ranges. 

5.  People with diabetes should never consume sugar. FICTION.

It is a myth that people with diabetes can never consume sugar. While it is important that someone with diabetes limits their sugar intake, there are no foods that are completely off-limits; rather, people with diabetes should be mindful of portion control when planning their meals and snacks.  

6.  You should seek information from a licensed/certified medical provider to learn how to properly manage your diabetes. FACT.

When living with diabetes, support from others can be essential in helping you maintain healthy habits. GBMC’s Geckle Diabetes and Nutrition Center and GBMC at Hunt Valley primary care practice have skilled physicians, nurses, dietitians, and Certified Diabetes Educators® ready to provide the services you need, including individual appointments, group classes, nutrition counseling and group support sessions.

To learn more about diabetes care at GBMC, visit or

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