When it comes to type 2 diabetes, there are a number of myths circulating. It’s imperative to distinguish between fact and fiction so you can maintain your health.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires lifestyle changes, particularly to your eating and exercise habits. Diabetes affects nearly every organ in the body and poor management of it can lead to serious health complications, including an increased risk for heart attack or stroke, foot complications, nerve damage (neuropathy), vision problems and kidney failure.
“That’s why it’s imperative to take control of your diabetes by doing your homework and making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent further complications down the line,” says Michelle Kennedy, RN, BSN, CDE, diabetes program coordinator for Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.
As a condition that more than 30.3 million Americans currently have, there can be a lot of misconceptions out there about how to manage diabetes. Three common misconceptions about diabetes management include:
- Being overweight and/or eating too much sugar is the cause of diabetes. Both are risk factors that play a role in developing diabetes, but they aren’t alone. Family history, ethnicity, age and a sedentary lifestyle are also risk factors that can lead to the condition.
- People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or anything white. Like with most things, the key is moderation. Instead of focusing on a particular type of food, be sure to have a balanced diet that meets your daily nutritional needs to avoid overindulging in one type of food at the expense of another. To make sure you’re following a balanced meal plan, talk with a diabetes educator or registered dietitian.
- Diabetes can “go away” over time. Diabetes can be put into a state of remission — meaning your body is effectively managing blood sugar without the need for medication due to positive lifestyle changes — but this does not mean the remission is permanent or that you are no longer susceptible to the serious side effects that accompany diabetes. That’s why it’s important to continue getting regular check-ups from your health care provider.
Ultimately, making responsible choices to manage your diabetes is crucial for maintaining your health.
“Looking at the numbers, 95 to 99 percent of diabetes is self-management,” Kennedy says. “It’s all about your decisions: what, when and how much you eat paired with checking your blood sugar, taking your medication as prescribed, controlling your weight, managing your blood pressure, stopping use of tobacco products and exercising.”
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking for guidance on how to manage the condition, talk to your primary care provider or a diabetes educator. For more information about diabetes management and resources available in southern Middle Tennessee, visit MauryRegional.com/Our-Services/Diabetes.
Michelle Kennedy, RN, BSN, CDE, is a certified diabetes educator and the diabetes program coordinator for Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia.