Healthy Living: Busting myths about diabetes

Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 1:19 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Type 1 diabetes is more common in children and adolescents, but there has been a recent rise in children and adolescents with Type 2 diabetes. Although the signs and symptoms are the same, they are caused by two different factors. Peggy Malone, Pediatric RN Nurse Navigator at Ochsner Hospital for Children, discusses the types of diabetes and corrects common myths about the condition.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the pancreas to stop producing insulin, which is an autoimmune condition. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to get energy from food. The onset has nothing to do with diet and lifestyle.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. With Type 2 diabetes your pancreas makes insulin but it is not used properly. This condition is known as insulin resistance. Your pancreas has to make extra insulin to keep up but overtime it is unable to keep up.

Myths and Facts

Living with diabetes is very challenging, not just for the person with diabetes but for the whole family. Getting the facts from medical professionals experienced in treatment of diabetes will be beneficial in overcoming these challenges. The most common question is "how did I or my child develop diabetes?"

Parents of children with diabetes often blame themselves and some may worry that if they have diabetes, they will pass it on to their children. Unlike some traits, diabetes does not seem to be inherited in a simple pattern. The unknown causes fosters many myths as to the what, why and how's.

Myths and Facts About Type 1 Diabetes

Myth: Type 1 diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar or being obese.

Fact: Sugar consumption or weight has nothing to do with the onset of Type 1 diabetes. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved, but the exact triggers are not known.

Myth: Only children can develop Type 1 diabetes.

Fact: Type 1 diabetes was formerly called "juvenile diabetes," but you can develop it at any age. It is regularly diagnosed in teens, young adults and adults.

Myth: People with diabetes can't or shouldn't eat sugar or sweets.

Fact: Limiting intake of sugar and sweets can be part of a healthy diet. People with Type 1 diabetes can work sugars and sweets into their diet just like someone who does not have Type 1 diabetes.

Myth: Women with Type 1 diabetes shouldn't get pregnant.

Fact: Women with Type 1 diabetes regularly have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy babies with planning and support.

Myth: You can cure Type 1 diabetes with diet and exercise.

Fact: There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes at this time. Healthy eating, exercise and the proper amount of insulin will help people with Type 1 diabetes maintain better blood glucose control.

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