Health Literacy

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Diabetes


The world faces a diabetes epidemic. Millions around the world suffer from this condition, which left untreated can lead to death. Having a solid Diabetes education can increase your chances of living a healthier and longer life. Here are five key facts and misconceptions about diabetes.

1. There are two types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes involves genetic factors and affects just 5% of diabetics. The immune system attacks the pancreas, which is responsible for producing insulin. Insulin, in turn, helps lower blood sugar levels.

Approximately 19 out of 20 diabetics have type 2 diabetes. Excessive amounts of blood sugar lead to this condition over a prolonged period of time. Adults over the age of 45 are prone to developing type 2. Especially if they’re obesity and live an unhealthy lifestyle. Some people develop type 2 at an early age. Left untreated, the condition can lead to severe complications later down the line.

2. Not everyone needs insulin injections

One of the biggest misconceptions is diabetics need insulin injections. Simply not true. Those with type 1 need extra insulin into the body because the pancreas doesn’t produce enough. In type 2, the pancreas works fine and the body has enough insulin. But has developed a resistance. Therefore increasing the amount of the hormone won’t have any effect. Patients with type 2 need to manage their condition by reducing sugar intake and adopting a healthier lifestyle.

3. Not everyone who is overweight will get diabetes

Obesity and overweight people are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But just because you’re overweight, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Dozens of other factors come into play including daily sugar intake, physical activity and a family history. Compare two people as an example. Let’s call them Steven and Keith. Steven is considered obese by his doctor, but rides his bicycle several kilometres to and from work each day. He also lives an active lifestyle and tries to cut unnecessary sugar out of his diet. Keith, on the other hand, doesn’t eat much but when he does, it’s unhealthy. He drives five minutes to the shop, and rarely has any exercise. Worst still, his dad and his grandfather suffered from type 2 diabetes. In this example, Keith is significantly more likely to get diabetes than Steven who is overweight.

4. Diabetes isn’t just a disease for older people

Another misconception. As childhood obesity rates rise combined with unhealthy eating and eight hours of screen time each day, so does type 2 diabetes. Elevated sugar levels over time means the body can no longer process it. When insulin becomes ineffective, diabetes develops.

5. Diabetes can kill you

Left untreated, diabetes can kill you. Approximately three quarters of those with type two diabetes die from either heart disease or stroke. But, it is manageable by limiting sugar intake and having an active lifestyle.

Key Points

There are two types of diabetes: The vast majority develop type 2 diabetes as a result of unhealthy habits. About one in twenty get the condition because of genetic factors and need insulin. Everyone, including children, can get type 2 diabetes. Without proper management, it can kill.

Would you like to receive similar articles by email?

Zara Jones is a valued contributor to various CosmoBC's blogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *