Challenging Common Myths Associated With Diabetes By Chronic Kidney Disease And Diabetic Patients

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease. In fact, over 40% of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients are diabetic while another 15% to 20% of CKD patients become diabetic after their Kidney Transplantation. Therefore, this condition is not only a serious threat to diabetics and potential diabetics due to family history or behavior, but also to those suffering with CKD before and after transplant. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) notes that there are many myths about diabetes that make it difficult for people to believe some of the hard facts. These myths can create a picture of diabetes that is not accurate and full of stereotypes and stigma.

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Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: The ADA challenges this very common misconception, "If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise," said the ADA "sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes." Hence, these treats do not have to be any more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. In the case of dialysis patients, you should follow the renal-diabetic diet plan that you create with your Dietitian. Limit intake of sweets by having a very small portion only during special occasions. All other meals should be focused on healthy foods.

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Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: This may not be as straightforward as it first appears. The ADA suggests that type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors, such as diet and weight gain. While genetic factors also contribute to type 1 diabetes, other unknown factors may trigger the ailment. 
Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes so you should limit regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drink, sports drinks and other sugar sweetened drinks. Just one serving can raise your blood glucose levels and cause you to intake several hundred empty calories. One cup of fruit punch and other sugary fruit drinks have about 100 calories (or more) and 30 grams of carbohydrate.

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Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone and should be low in fat (saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Ironically, according to the ADA, "Diabetic foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols."

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Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.
Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Hence, whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks. You may need more or less carbohydrate at meals depending on how you manage your diabetes, but always check with your healthcare team to figure out the right amount for you.

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Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you take proactive management in your health then you may be able to prevent or delay severe complications from diabetes. However, if you do not realize the seriousness of diabetes then it be particularly harmful. Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Given these staggering statistics, be sure to visit KidneyBuzz.com regularly for best strategies to manage and prevent diabetes all together.

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Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people on dialysis and otherwise disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. 

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Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications. 

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Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.
Fact: Fruit is a healthy food that contain fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. However, due to high levels of carbohydrates and potassium found in many fruits, they need to be included in both your diabetic and/or renal meal plan. Talk to your Dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.

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Visit KidneyBuzz.com for daily news and information about how to live a better quality of life while battling Chronic Kidney Disease on dialysis and/or diabetes. Do not forget to purchase your "No BP/No Stick" wristband to support KidneyBuzz.com in providing daily CKD-Diabetic News coverage as well as protect your fistula. Please share these myths and facts about diabetes with your family and friends. KidneyBuzz.com will be here every step of the way.

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Reference:

"Diabetes Myths." Http://www.diabetes.org/. American Diabetes Association.