Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease? According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet in 2011 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.3 Another staggering statistic shared on the American Diabetes Association’s website states that in 2010 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in individuals over the age of 20.3 The good news is that the better a person controls their diabetes the lower their chance of getting kidney disease is, as well as the individual may be able to prevent of delay complications associated with diabetes.1
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) discusses certain myths about diabetes on their website. Below is a quick quiz to test your knowledge of diabetes. See how well you do.
|Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
|If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
|People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
|If you have diabetes you should eat large amounts of starchy food, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
|People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.
|You can catch diabetes from someone else.
|People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
|Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.
Diabetes is not that serious of a disease. False. Diabetes cause “more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.”2
If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. False. According to the ADA website, being obese is a risk factor for developing the disease, however an individual’s family history, ethnicity and age can play a role. 2 “Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.” 2
People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods. False. A healthy diet for an individual with diabetes is about the same as a healthy diet for someone who is not diagnosed with disease. A healthy diet should be low in fat, moderate in salt and sugar, contain whole grain foods, vegetables and fruits. 2 The ADA states that “diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit.” 2
If you have diabetes you should only eat large amounts of starchy food. False. “Starchy foods can be a part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key.” 2
People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate. False. The ADA’s website indicates that if sweets or chocolate are eaten as part of a healthy diet or combine with exercise then it is ok. 2 Again the key is portion size and moderation.
You can catch diabetes from someone else. False. The ADA states that it may not be known why certain individuals have diabetes, it is known that it is not contagious. 2
People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses. False. An individual with diabetes is no more likely to get a cold or other illness than someone who is not diagnosed. 2 However, an illness can make diabetes more difficult to control an individual’s with diabetes are more likely than others to develop complications. 2
Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish. False. Fruit is healthy and contains carbohydrates and needs to be included in your diet. 2 However, the ADA recommends talking to dietician about the “amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.” 2
Diabetes is not something to take lightly. According to a 2007 study, diabetes was noted as the cause of death or a contributing factor in the death of 231,404 individuals. 3 Complications of diabetes can include:
- Heart disease and stroke
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
The American Diabetes Association website also shares the some individuals with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild they go unnoticed. However, the following are common symptoms of an individual with diabetes:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain or numbness in hands or feet (type 2) 4
Check out the ADA “Diabetes Risk Test” on their website – www.diabetes.org. If after taking the test and or the symptoms describe you contact you doctor to discuss. It is better to know if you do have diabetes. Knowledge is power and if diabetes is managed well, individuals may be able to prevent or delay the complications.
How does someone manage their diabetes or lower their risk of developing? The American Diabetes Association recommends three areas that individuals may want to focus on: weight, diet and physical activity. While being overweight does not necessarily mean you have or will develop type 2 diabetes it can increase your risk of developing it. Losing even a few pounds can make a difference. Physical activity can also help keep your blood glucose levels in check. “Eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower our risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.” 6 The ADA website provides many suggestions in the section “Healthy Eating.” Check out their website for their entire list. Below are just a few of their suggestions: 6
- Buy leaner meats (such as chicken, turkey and lean cuts of pork or beef) and lower fat dairy products.
- Buy whole grain breads and cereals.
- Remember that special “dietetic” or “diabetic” foods often cost extra money and ma not be much healthier than following the suggestions provided by the ADA.
- Plan meals for the week.
- Stock you pantry with healthy basics, including brown rice, whole grain pasta, crackers and cereals.
- Never shop when you’re hungry and might be tempted by less healthy food.
- Try starting meals with a salad or a broth or tomato based soup with lots of vegetables.
- In restaurants ask if meats can be grilled rather than fired and request sauces and dressings on the side.
For additional information please check out the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org.
- “It’s National Kidney Month.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetesstopshere.org.
- “Diabetes Myths.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/myths/.
- “Statistics About Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.
- “Symptoms.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms.
- “Overweight.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/overweight.html.
- “Healthy Eating.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/healthy-eating.html.
- “Physical Activity.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/activity.html.