Learning about Type 2 diabetes and the risk factors involved can help a person detect the disease early or know what he or she needs to do to minimize their risk. Type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes, is becoming more common, especially in children and young adults. Here are common myths associated with Type 2 diabetes:
1. Type 2 diabetes is not a serious disease.
Because Type 2 diabetes tends to develop slowly over time, many people believe it is not a serious disease. According to the American Diabetes Assn., diabetes kills more people each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
2. Only overweight people develop Type 2 diabetes.
Though being overweight or obese is a risk factor, it is not the only one. There are other risk factors to consider, such as family history. If you have immediate family members who have developed Type 2 diabetes, you have a greater risk of developing it.
Ethnicity also plays a role. African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than Caucasians.
3. There’s only one dangerous kind of diabetes.
Not true. Diabetes refers to a group of diseases — all of which require serious attention — that have in common the body’s inability to properly convert glucose from food into energy, leading to a high level of sugar in the blood. The main types of diabetes include Type 1 (formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes), Type 2 and gestational (which occurs only during pregnancy). Managing any type of diabetes requires balancing food, physical activity and, if needed, medications.
4. People with diabetes must eat a special diet.
A healthful diet for someone with diabetes is the same as a healthful diet for anyone else. A good meal plan is based on whole-grain foods, lean protein, vegetables and fruit. Such a diet is low in fat (particularly saturated and trans fats), salt and simple sugars. 5. Only older people develop Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes used to be an adult disease, developing primarily in people over 40 who were overweight or obese. Sedentary lifestyles, combined with being overweight, have led to an increase in the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in children as young as 10.
If you would like to learn more about diabetes, go to www.diabetes.org.