What are common myths about diabetes?
We asked Dr. Wayne Evron, medical director of the Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital to respond to your health question.
Q: What are common myths about diabetes? Where can I find accurate information and resources?
A: The biggest misconception about diabetes is that it’s not a serious disease. Actually, diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Another myth is that weight is the primary factor in determining if someone will develop diabetes. While being overweight is a factor, things such as family history, ethnicity and age also contribute to an individual’s risk profile. Most overweight people never develop diabetes, and many people who have diabetes are within a healthy weight range.
While diabetes is a serious illness, it can be managed well with medications along with an appropriate diet and exercise regimen. Many mistakenly believe that diabetes can be caused by things like eating too much sugar or too many starchy foods; in reality, an individual with diabetes can eat nearly any food if it is part of an overall healthy meal plan.
Foods that contain carbohydrates, like breads and pasta, can be included in a diet in proper amounts. Individuals with diabetes can indulge in desserts as long as the portion sizes are appropriate. Those who have diabetes should discuss their diet and exercise plan with their physician to come up with an overall plan for optimal diabetes management.
West Penn Hospital is the oldest national affiliate of the world-renowned Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. Both Joslin and the American Diabetes Association are sources for reliable diabetes information.