Debunking Common Misconceptions About Type 2 Diabetes
Feb 22, 2023
Diabetes is a complex and often misunderstood condition. One of the most important things you can do to manage or prevent it is to educate yourself about the facts. To help, we’ve debunked five common myths about type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
Myth: Weight is the main risk factor for type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, the more common of the two main types of diabetes, develops gradually as the result of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. (Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that most commonly develops in childhood.) Obesity is one of the type 2 diabetes risk factors that many people are familiar with, and there are several misconceptions about the relationship between diabetes and weight.
While being overweight or obese may increase a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it is not the only risk factor. Frequency of physical activity, genetics, and age are also contributing factors. Many people who are overweight or obese do not develop diabetes, and people who are at a healthy weight may develop the condition.
Myth: Eating sugar causes diabetes
Diabetes is characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar, or glucose, a source of energy that carbohydrates are converted into during the process of digestion. This often leads to the misconception that eating sugar can directly cause diabetes, which is not the case.
Still, if you have prediabetes, it is often recommended to consume soda, sports drinks, and other sweetened or sugary beverages in moderation, as they do not contain any fat or protein to balance their carbohydrate content.
Myth: People with diabetes have to eat a special diet
Any time you digest carbohydrates, in the form of food or drinks, your body turns those carbs into glucose, causing your blood sugar levels to rise. For those without diabetes, the body’s natural insulin response helps to balance blood sugar levels. However, for those with diabetes, insulin resistance keeps blood sugar at a higher level.
For this reason, it is important that individuals with both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are mindful of their carbohydrate intake. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot consume bread, potatoes, pasta, or other foods that are high in carbs. Recent studies have found that eating a diet with a good balance of carbs, protein, and fat can help with blood sugar management.
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, work with your provider to develop a healthy, balanced meal plan that you can consistently follow.
Myth: Prediabetes isn’t serious
1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes, a health condition defined by higher than normal blood sugar levels that often precedes type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to serious complications like heart disease and kidney damage.
While prediabetes is serious, it doesn’t need to result in diabetes. If you’ve received a diagnosis of prediabetes, work with your provider to prevent it from progressing into type 2 diabetes. Depending on your health history, that might mean increasing your physical activity, quitting smoking, or controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Myth: Taking insulin means you’re not managing your diabetes well
People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce any insulin on their own and rely on insulin therapy every day to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. Treatment is more varied for type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by insulin resistance.
Some people with type 2 diabetes are able to manage their condition with lifestyle changes alone while others need to take oral diabetes medications like metformin or insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor recommends adding insulin therapy to your treatment plan, it does not mean you haven’t done a good job of managing your blood sugar. An individual’s type 2 diabetes treatment needs may change with time; the condition is progressive for many, and often, the body gradually becomes less able to produce insulin on its own.
Alto is with you every step of the way
We’re specialists in treatment for type 2 diabetes, and whether you’re beginning oral medications or transitioning to insulin, Alto’s pharmacists are here to support you on your health journey.
Additionally, we make it as simple as possible to stay on track with treatment, with free, same-day delivery right to your doorstep, temperature controlled packaging, and savings investigations.
Reach out via phone at 1-800-874-5881 or in-app messaging to learn how Alto can be a partner in your diabetes care.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.