(Photo Credit: Josie Nicole)
Top 10 Myths About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is one of the most misunderstood diseases, and it accounts for 5-10% of all diabetes cases. Not many people understand the complexity or severity unless personally affected by it. Much of the stigma surrounding diabetes is brought on by myths and misconceptions. But as the prevalence is increasing worldwide, it’s important to debunk many of these myths and share the facts about Type 1 Diabetes.
MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar –
FACT: Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. There is no known cause but it’s believed that genes and environmental factors play a role.
MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes can be cured with diet and exercise –
FACT: There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes (YET). Yes, diet and exercise is beneficial for anyone including those managing diabetes, but it can not treat nor reverse it.
MYTH: Sugar is off limits with Type 1 Diabetes –
FACT: People with Type 1 Diabetes are not limited to what they can eat. Insulin is administered to cover the carbs or sugar they eat. Too much sugar is bad for everyone, but moderation is key. Sugar is also needed and life-saving for diabetics with low blood sugar.
MYTH: If it’s sugar-free then it’s okay for Type 1 Diabetics to go ahead and consume –
FACT: Actually, many sugar-free foods are loaded with carbohydrates. In many cases where they have more carbohydrates than a product just made with pure sugar. It’s always important to check nutrition labels because product packaging can be deceiving.
MYTH: You won’t get Type 1 Diabetes if you live a healthy and active lifestyle –
FACT: Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by ones’ lifestyle choices. Diet, activity level, and weight have no effect with the onset of Type 1 Diabetes.
MYTH: If a Type 1 Diabetics blood sugar is low or high then it’s their fault –
FACT: A low or high blood sugar can happen for many reasons - (insulin, exercise, illness, stress, hormones, etc.) There is no fault, just the nature of the disease at hand.
MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is hereditary –
FACT: Genetics can be complicated and more studies are being done on this. While many who are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes may have no family history; research shows genetic factors play an important role in disease susceptibility. The pattern of inheritance is complex, and the development of disease is thought to be determined by an interaction between genetic predisposition and environmental triggers.
MYTH: People with Type 1 Diabetes shouldn’t have children –
FACT: Women with Type 1 Diabetes who manage their diabetes well during pregnancy can give birth to healthy babies.
MYTH: Type 1 Diabetes is the bad kind –
FACT: All types of diabetes are serious. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes being the most common types. But with proper management, people with diabetes can live relatively normal, healthy lives.
MYTH: Adults can’t get Type 1 Diabetes –
FACT: Type 1 Diabetes does not discriminate - it affects babies, children, teens, and adults. While type 1 diabetes develops in children or adolescents, diagnosis as an adult happens as well. Which is why the name Type 1 Diabetes no longer goes by “Juvenile Diabetes”.