World Health Day: The Facts and Myths Behind Diabetes

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Nearly 26 million Americans are currently living with diabetes; yet, nearly 422 million people suffer from diabetes worldwide. WHO’s World Health Day 2016 Beat Diabetes campaign’s main goal is to increase awareness about the rise in the disease, the staggering economic burden of the disease on low-income countries and effective actions required to tackle diabetes.

World Health Day: The Facts and Myths Behind Diabetes

  • Diabetes costs $174 billion annually, including $116 billion in direct medical expenses.
  • About one-third of all people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.
  • The only way to know for sure what your levels are is to check your blood glucose.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults.
  • Diabetes affects the vascular system of the body, including the eyes, kidneys, legs and feet.
  • Those with diabetes must pay extra attention to their feet because they are at high risk of developing complications that can lead to foot and lower leg amputations.
  • Diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputations.
  • People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease than someone without diabetes.
  • Good diabetes care includes managing the ABCs of diabetes, as measured by the A1C test, blood pressure, and cholesterol, to help avoid having a heart attack, stroke, or other problems.
  • Good control of diabetes significantly reduces the risk of developing complications and prevents complications from getting worse.
  • Only about five percent of all people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes often does not have any symptoms.
  • If you are at risk, type 2 diabetes can be prevented with moderate weight loss (10–15 pounds) and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) each day.
  • A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is a healthy meal plan for everyone. Eat foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Physical activity is safe and essential for people with diabetes.

“The number of people living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries.” –World Health Organization


 

5 Common Myths About Diabetes

1. You get diabetes from eating too much sugar.

This is not necessarily true. There are two main types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease diagnosed when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin due to a genetic disorder. Insulin is a hormone in your body that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from foods you eat to produce energy or store glucose for future use. If you are not producing enough insulin, it was cause sugars are fats to be stored rather than used for energy. Insulin is also used to stabilize your blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low.

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when the body can’t process the insulin correctly due to an excess amount of fats, carbohydrates, and sugars. Roughly 90 percent of diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes.

A third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and is usually diagnosed during late pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with diabetes earlier in your pregnancy, you may have had diabetes before you became pregnant. Gestational diabetes is characterized by raised blood sugar. Your body uses glucose for energy, and too much glucose in your blood is not good for you or your baby. Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. These mothers and their children are also at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes

2. You must be overweight to get diabetes.

False. Your weight can play a major role in your risk for diabetes. The risk of contracting type 2 diabetes is twice as high for someone overweight. Other factors may contribute to your risks including genetics, age, lifestyle, and diet.

3. Diabetics have to inject themselves with insulin every day.

True and false. Type 1 diabetics must inject themselves with insulin to make up for the lack of insulin naturally produced in the body. Type 2 diabetics only need to inject themselves with insulin when the pancreas breaks down and cannot produce its own insulin. Clusters of beta cells produce insulin in the pancreas to counteract a rise in blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells, making the body unable to control blood sugar levels.

4. Only older adults can have diabetes.

False. Diabetes is increasing around the world and affecting both adults and children. The number of type 2 diabetes cases in children have multiplied by five over the last ten years.The International Diabetes Federation and WHO count roughly 400 million cases worldwide. See more results on the global report on diabetes released by the World Health Organization.

5. Diabetes can’t be cured.

True and false. Those with an insulin deficiency must rely on insulin the rest of their lives. Those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can treat it with a healthy diet and exercise. This can either temporarily or permanently cure their diabetes without medication or surgery.

 

Know that you know a little more about diabetes, see you if you pass the World Health Day 2016 quiz!

Sources: Joslin Diabetes Center, American Diabetes Association, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

World Health Day: The Facts and Myths Behind Diabetes

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