Updated 13 February 2017

6 diabetes myths debunked

Despite its prevalence, misunderstandings about diabetes abound. Here's a list of six common diabetes myths. Get the facts on diabetes and help spread awareness.

Diabetes affects everyone. If you are not a diabetic yourself, you almost certainly have a family member, friend or colleague affected by this chronic disease.

According to Diabetes South Africa approximately 3.5 million South Africans live with diabetes, a number expected to rise sharply. Worldwide the number is a staggering 366 million, a figure expected to rise to 552 million by 2030 with Africa set for the highest incidence of growth during this period.

Yet, despite its prevalence, misunderstandings about diabetes abound. Ignorance is not only potentially dangerous (a vast number of diabetes sufferers are undiagnosed, risking serious complications); it also makes life very difficult for people living with diabetes.

Here’s a list of six common diabetes myths:

Myth 1: eating too much sugar causes diabetes
Myth 2: people with diabetes have to follow a special diet
Myth 3: if you have diabetes, you can’t eat carbs
Myth 4: if you have diabetes, you should avoid eating certain fruits
Myth 5: only fat people get diabetes
Myth 6: if I have to go on insulin, it means my diabetes is really bad

Click on the links above to get the facts on diabetes and help spread awareness.

(Photo of diabetes glucometer and fruit from Shutterstock)


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Dr. May currently works as a fulltime endocrinologist and has been in private practice since 2004. He has a variety of interests, predominantly obesity and diabetes, but also sees patients with osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, men's health disorders, pituitary and adrenal disorders, polycystic ovaries, and disorders of growth. He is a leading member of several obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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