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Thu, Jan. 23

Myths about diabetes

(Courier stock photo)

(Courier stock photo)

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body’s blood sugar is too high. “Insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas, helps get sugar from the food you eat into your cells,” says Linda Reagan, Dietitian at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. “But sometimes the body doesn’t make enough insulin, and the sugar stays in the bloodstream.”

Reagan says that over time, this can cause serious health problems, but the information you hear about these problems may not be true. Here are five typical myths about diabetes…debunked:

1.) Those with diabetes can’t eat sweets or sugar. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t eat any sugar, it means you have to eat sugar in moderation, just like anyone else.

2.) Too much sugar causes Type 2 diabetes. While being overweight does increase your chance of Type 2 diabetes, sugar is not always to blame. Type 2 diabetes is caused because people who are overweight have more insulin resistance, which means the insulin can’t get the sugar, or glucose, out of your blood. Sometimes, eating too much sugar isn’t to blame. Diabetes can be caused by other factors, such as genetics.

3.) Diabetes is not a serious disease. Diabetes is a concerning disease that causes serious health problems from the sugar building in the blood. These health problems can include kidney failure and non-traumatic lower-limb amputation. In 2010, diabetes killed more than 69,000 people in the United States alone.

4.) People with diabetes are more likely to catch other illnesses, such as a cold. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t make you more likely to catch a cold. However, any illness can make diabetes difficult to control, so it’s important to receive vaccinations, such as flu shots.

5.) Fruit is healthy, so you can eat as much as you want if you have diabetes. While fruit is healthy, packing fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it also has carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar, so moderation is the key.

Staff members at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital help patients manage diabetes by creating individualized treatment plans that include physical exercise and health eating strategies.

“Exercise can help control diabetes because it allows glucose to enter the body’s cells without the use of insulin,” Reagan says. “A healthy diet also is integral to managing diabetes. Food affects the balance of insulin in the body and makes a difference in blood glucose levels.”

Some strategies used to help patients manage their diabetes include the combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training, education about carbohydrates in food and how it affects glucose levels, and practical exercises and strategies for healthy cooking and eating that can be continued at home.

Information provided by Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

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