Let’s do a little math: currently, there are 334,884,221 people in the United States. About 34,200,000 of them have diabetes.
34,200,000÷334,884,221 = 10%
10% of us have diabetes. That’s huge! And you’d think that we’d all be pretty conversant about something that affects one person in every 10. Sadly, we’re not. Diabetes continues to be misunderstood. November is Diabetes Awareness Month. We at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland are taking this moment to quash some typical myths about this disease that affects so many of our patients.
Myth #1: It’s just a problem with your hormones.
Yes, diabetes is a hormone problem, but it goes much deeper than that. Type 2 diabetes – the most common kind – occurs when the body can’t process the hormone insulin properly or isn’t making enough. Insulin is responsible for helping energy, which we get from eating food, enter the body’s cells. The energy, in this case, means sugar, also called blood glucose. Without the help of insulin, glucose levels in your blood rise to dangerous levels. Over time, uncontrolled high blood glucose damages your heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves, blood vessels, and feet.
Myth #2: You can’t get diabetes unless you’re overweight.
While being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor, it’s not the only one. Other causes include a family history of diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, over age 45, and ethnicity. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic/Latin Americans, and some Pacific Islanders/Asian Americans are at a higher risk.
Myth #3: People with diabetes can only eat certain foods.
A variation on this myth is “diabetics can’t eat sugar.” People with diabetes can eat all foods. However, food plays an enormous role in raising or lowering blood sugar levels. It’s critical for diabetics to make a plan with their doctors for healthy eating.
Myth #4: People with diabetes have to take it easy.
The opposite is true: physical activity helps control blood sugar levels. Again, people with diabetes should work with their doctors to create an exercise program that will minimize the complications of diabetes. Walking, swimming, biking, and yoga are all great choices.
It’s no myth diabetes can do some heavy damage to your feet. But people with diabetes in Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga counties have two podiatrists in nearby Solon, Ohio, who excel in diabetic foot care. If you have diabetes, make regular appointments with Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann to keep foot complications at bay. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or make an appointment online.