Updated: 11/04/2016 3:51 PM | Print Story |  Email

Diabetes Misconceptions

We learn something new every single day on this show and when it comes to our health, we are blown away. Here's proof - more than 29 million Americans have diabetes; 1 in 4 don't even know.

November is American Diabetes month and Dr. Terri Wollan from Entira Family Clinics joins us to help us weed through a few misconceptions about the disease.


1. Misconception: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop Type 2 Diabetes.
Fact: being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors contribute

Risk Factors:

  • family history
  • ethnicity -- more common in African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native American, and Asian Americans
  • Gender
  • Weight


2. Misconception: Type 2 Diabetes is not that serious of a disease
Fact: diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and aids combined
            - having diabetes nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack
            - but good diabetes control can reduce your risks for diabetes complications

Controlling Type 2 Diabetes - things you can change:
- being physically active
- losing weight
- lowering high blood pressure -- nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure
- don't smoke
- less alcohol

3. Misconception: having diabetes means your body isn't producing enough insulin
Fact: people with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when they're first diagnosed. The insulin just isn't working properly. This means the insulin doesn't cause their cells to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need injections.

Type 1 Diabetes is different -- often referred to as Juvenile Diabetes
- is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease

4. Misconception: if you have diabetes, you know it
Fact: some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed

Symptoms:
- whole body: excessive hunger, increased thirst, or fatigue
- weight: weight gain or weight loss
- also common: frequent urination, blurred vision, or poor wound healing

5. Misconception: you can only be diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, if you have diabetes before your pregnant
Fact: Gestational Diabetes happens when your body can't make enough insulin during pregnancy.  During pregnancy, your body makes more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause your body's cells to use insulin less effectively.

Risk of developing Gestational Diabetes:
- overweight
- have had Gestational Diabetes before
- have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
- have pre-diabetes
- race