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Diabetes is a serious complex condition that can significantly impact your quality of life, and can even reduce your life expectancy.
Early detection and treatment is crucial. Delays in diagnosing diabetes can put you at risk of major health problems – some of them life threatening.
Perhaps you have diabetes or you’re concerned you, or someone you care for, could be at risk.
The first step to managing diabetes is to understand diabetes. However, diabetes has attracted a few ‘myths’, so we asked Connect Health & Community diabetes educator Mary to separate fact from fiction.
Myth 1: All type of diabetes are the same.
Fact 1: There are a number of types of diabetes. The most common are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Each type has different causes and may be managed in different ways, but type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to be managed every day (unlike gestational diabetes). Although gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy, it does significantly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Myth 2: Only young people get type 1 diabetes.
Fact 2: The onset of type 1 diabetes does occur most frequently in those under the age of 30. However, new research suggests that almost half of all people who develop the condition are diagnosed when over the age of 30.
Myth 3: People with diabetes can’t eat dessert.
Fact 3: Diabetes affects blood glucose levels so it’s commonly thought that people with diabetes need to avoid sugars and foods containing sugar. However, if eaten in moderation as part of a healthy eating plan and/or combined with exercise, people with diabetes can have their cake, and eat it too. A qualified dietician or nutritionist can tailor a program that helps you eat and live well with your diabetes.
Myth 4: No-one in my family has diabetes, so I don’t need to worry.
Fact 4: Family history is only one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include smoking, diet and an inactive lifestyle. Use the Diabetes Australia Risk Calculator to learn more about type 2 risk.
Myth 5: Diabetes can be prevented
Fact 5: Not all types of diabetes can be prevented. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition; it can’t be prevented and there is no cure. However, there is strong evidence that diabetes prevention programs can help prevent type 2 diabetes in up to 58% of cases.
Connect Health & Community’s diabetes education service can help you learn about and manage your diabetes, and stay healthy. Click here to find out more.
Information sourced from the Diabetes Australia website, June 2018.
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