11% of Philadelphians Affected by Diabetes
The National Institutes of Health estimate that diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages — representing 8.3% of the U.S. population. Seven million within this group are undiagnosed. In Philadelphia, the number of people with diabetes rises to nearly 11%.
In this article, Patricia C. Adams, RN, CDE, Program Coordinator at Einstein’s Gutman Diabetes Institute, debunks some of the common myths surrounding diabetes.
MYTH VS. FACT
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The causes of diabetes are complicated. Type 1 diabetes involves genetics and other unknown factors that trigger the disease. Type 2 diabetes involves genetics and lifestyle. Either way, overeating in general leads to weight gain, which may lead to diabetes or other diseases.
Myth: Diabetes primarily affects older people.
Fact: According to the American Diabetes Association, in Philadelphia alone, more than 15,500 adults between the ages 18 and 39 have diabetes. Nearly 50,000 Philadelphians with diabetes are between the ages of 40 and 59, and over 55,400 are age 60 or older.
Myth: People with diabetes need to eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: People with diabetes do not have to eat special foods, but should learn how to build a healthy meal plan consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, as healthy eating benefits everyone.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: People with diabetes may include desserts and other treats when eaten as part of a healthy meal plan. Adding increased physical activity to the diabetes treatment plan also improves success.
Myth: Diabetes is a fairly easy disease to manage.
Fact: People living with diabetes need to make choices throughout the day that could raise or lower their glucose (sugar) levels. Conflicting information makes those decisions even more difficult and finding reliable nformation may be a challenge. People with diabetes are encouraged to build a team of professionals who work with them to establish a complete plan.
Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: People with diabetes are not more likely to get colds or other illnesses. However, when they are sick, the diabetes may be more difficult to control. If people with diabetes do become ill, they must still follow their diabetes treatment.
FIND SUPPORT FOR YOUR OR YOUR LOVED ONE
The Certified Diabetes Educators at Einstein’s Gutman Diabetes Institute play an important role in diabetes management, providing both an accredited Diabetes Self-Management Education program and a monthly living with Diabetes support group.
Click here for information about Einstein’s diabetes services, or call the Gutman Diabetes Institute at 215-456-6839.