There are a number of common myths about diabetes out there, including some related to women’s health. As we’re here to help women understand more about their bodies, we decided to bust some of those myths once and for all.
Myth #1: Diabetes is not a serious disease
Diabetes is serious business. Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. This is why it is so important to be screened for diabetes, especially if you have a high risk of developing the disease. The American Diabetes Association website has a free online risk test you can take to understand your risk factor.
Myth #2: Women with diabetes should not get pregnant.
Thanks to advancements in diabetes care, women with Type 1 or Type 2* diabetes can have healthy and successful pregnancies. However, diabetic pregnancies require extra effort and excellent blood sugar control, before and during the pregnancy. If you have diabetes and are trying to conceive, it is vital to talk with your doctor.
Myth #3: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
No, candy lovers are not destined to develop diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is thought to be caused by genetic and lifestyle factors. The sugar in candy is not the same as blood sugar. Consuming sugary treats within an overall healthy diet should not increase your diabetes risk. That said, being overweight is one of the key risk factors of developing diabetes, and eating too much sugar will cause you to put on weight. You should note that sugary drinks have been linked to type 2 diabetes. These drinks can contain hundreds of calories, yet don’t make us feel full, so they can lead to weight gain. The American Diabetes Association recommends limiting your daily sugar-sweetened beverage intake.
Myth #4: Gestational diabetes doesn’t need to be taken seriously, because it will disappear after a woman gives birth.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It occurs in about 1 in 20 pregnancies. Although it usually disappears after delivery, unmonitored gestational diabetes can cause complications for both mother and baby. In mom, it can cause high blood pressure and increase the need for a C-section. In baby, it can cause the baby to put on extra weight, leading to shoulder damage during birth. After birth, mother and baby have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. It is important to be tested for gestational diabetes, and it is usually carried out between weeks 24-28 of pregnancy.
We hope we’ve cleared up some myths you may have heard or read about diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease, but once properly diagnosed it can be treated and managed. If you want to find out more about diabetes, you can read our diabetes awareness article here as well as visit the official site of the American Diabetes Association. Your doctor will be able to talk your though diabetes risks, as well as carry out the simple blood test necessary to determine if you have the condition.
*Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. An autoimmune condition, it occurs when the pancreas no longer makes insulin because the body’s immune system has attacked and destroyed cells in the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin by injection or with an insulin pump. The cause is unclear and it cannot be prevented.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type in adult women: You don’t make enough insulin or the body doesn’t respond to it properly. This form of diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.