5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Diabetes

Apr 7 • 2016

Because diabetes is such a well-known condition, many people think they know everything they need to know about it. This year, World Health Day is focused on educating people about diabetes. We’ve compiled five quick facts you might not have known about this disease.

Fact 1: Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure.
If your blood sugar levels are too high, your kidneys will begin to filter too much blood. This puts strain on the holes in the capillaries. Over time, this can cause your kidneys to begin leaking. When this happens, protein that your body needs escapes in your urine. The more overworked your kidneys are, the more waste will build up in the blood. Eventually this can cause kidney failure.

Fact 2: People with diabetes should follow a healthy meal plan similar to those without diabetes.
Many people think that people with diabetes need a special “diabetic diet”, but the truth is they can actually follow a healthy diet similar to what people without diabetes need to stay healthy. When planning a diet as a diabetic, it should include foods low in saturated fat and trans fat, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, and whole grains. Many foods that claim to be best for diabetes still increase your blood glucose level and can have negative side effects.

Fact 3: Sugar intake is not the main cause of diabetes.
While it is recommended to avoid sugary drinks in order to prevent diabetes, sugar itself is not the main cause of this disease. Type 1 diabetes is typically caused by genetics and other unknown factors, while type 2 diabetes is a result of both genetics and lifestyle factors like obesity and lack of physical activity.

Fact 4: There are different risk factors for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
If anyone in your family has had type 1 diabetes, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself. However, risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, being over the age of 45, and African American, Mexican American, American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or Asian American heritage.

Fact 5: Insulin is not only for people who are not properly managing diabetes.
People who suffer from type 2 diabetes are likely to see it progress over time. While you might be able to easily keep your glucose levels low with a pill, your body will continue to produce smaller amounts of insulin as time goes on. Having to take insulin shots is a common step for people looking to manage the disease as it progresses.

This World Health Day, work to beat diabetes by making sure you and your loved ones know the facts, including risks, so you can take better control of your health.