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Diabetes UK share with us some common myths and misconceptions about diabetes.

Myths about diabetes

With so much information about diabetes out there, be sure you’re getting it right. These are some common myths about diabetes.

You can catch diabetes from someone else

Although we don’t know exactly why some people get diabetes, we know that diabetes is not contagious – it can’t be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes. But environmental factors also play a part.

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes. Diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, eating a diet high in fat and sugar can cause you to become overweight. Being overweight increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, so if you have a history of diabetes in your family, a healthy diet and regular exercise are recommended to control your weight.

Type 2 diabetes is mild diabetes


There is no such thing as mild or borderline diabetes. All diabetes is equally serious, and if not properly controlled can lead to serious complications.

People with diabetes eventually go blind

Although diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK, research has proved you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes complications – such as damage to your eyes – if you:
• Control your blood pressure and glucose levels
• Keep active
• Maintain your ideal body weight
• Give up smoking

It's not safe to drive if you have diabetes

Providing you are responsible and have good control of your diabetes, research shows that people with diabetes are no less safe on the roads than anyone else. Nevertheless, the myth that people with diabetes are not safe persists, and Diabetes UK is currently campaigning against legislation that prevents people who treat their diabetes with insulin from driving certain vehicles.

People with diabetes can't play sport

Tell that to Steve Redgrave, Olympic gold medal-winning rower; Gary Mabbutt, ex-captain of Tottenham Hotspurs; or the many other people with diabetes who take part in the London marathon every year. People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Keeping active can help avoid complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease. There may be some considerations to take into account with your diabetes before taking up a new exercise regime – talk to your healthcare team for more information.

People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses

No. You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you’ve got diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu jabs. This is because any infection interferes with your blood glucose control, putting you at risk of high blood glucose levels and, for those with Type 1 diabetes, an increased risk of ketoacidosis.

People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate

Sweets and chocolate are no more out of bounds to people with diabetes than they are to the rest of us, if eaten as part of a healthy diet. Remember that confectionery foods tend to be higher in fat and calories too so for this reason they should be limited especially if you’re trying to lose weight.

People with diabetes shouldn’t eat bananas or grapes

All fruit and vegetables are extremely good for you. Eating more can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, some cancers and some gut problems. You should aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This also helps to improve the overall balance of the diet. Eating a variety of different fruit and vegetables ensure you get the maximum benefit.

People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods

Diabetic versions of foods offer no special benefit. They still raise blood glucose levels, contain just as much fat and calories, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect. The healthy diet for people with diabetes is the same as that recommended for everyone – low in fat, salt and sugar, with meals including starchy foods like bread and pasta and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Having diabetes means you can’t do certain jobs

Having diabetes should not stop you from getting and keeping a job. Despite the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) people with diabetes still face blanket bans in some areas of employment. Diabetes UK campaigns to lift discriminatory blanket bans. There has been a growth in evidence for individual medical assessment. Individual assessment offers a rational, safe and legally defensible system of assessment for recruitment.

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Comment by Retired Pancreas on May 4, 2009 at 12:30
What job is good for people with diabetes?

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