World Diabetes Day: Know the Facts

Posted on November 14, 2017 by kerri
There are misconceptions about all types of diabetes. For World Diabetes Day (November 14), we’re tackling the myths and misconceptions about diabetes with some solid facts.
The Most Common Types of Diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that currently cannot be prevented or cured. T1D must be managed with lifelong insulin therapy by injection or insulin pump. Both children and adults can develop T1D.
  • Type 2 diabetes is genetically linked, and in some cases can be prevented by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. However, genetics may trump even the most intentional work to stay healthy. [1]
  • Gestational diabetes affects 1 in 7 mothers when they give birth [2]
    • Half of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes 5 to 10 years following giving birth. [2.1]
  • There are other types of diabetes beyond T1D, T2D and gestational diabetes. Learn about the other types of diabetes here.
Diabetes in Women
  • Women with type 2 diabetes are nearly ten times as likely to develop heart disease compared to women who don’t have diabetes. [2.2]
  • Women with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of pregnancy complications, having a miscarriage, or having a baby born with congenital anomalies (“birth defects”). [2.2]
  • Diabetes increases the risk of depression, which occurs about twice as often in women than men. [3]
  • Eating disorders are likely more common among women with diabetes than woman without diabetes, of any type. [3]
    • Bulimia is the most common eating disorder among women with T1D. [3.1]
      • “Diabulimia” is a colloquial term for an eating disorder unique to people with diabetes—it is also known as ED-DMT1 – Eating Disorder (in) Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 [3.2]. As high blood sugars cause weight loss (diabetic ketoacidosis), insulin is reduced or omitted for the purpose of losing weight. [3.1]
      • Men can also develop diabulimia, but it is less common.
    • Binge eating disorder affects more women with T2D. [3.1]
Diabetes in Children
  • 132,000 American children under 18 live with diabetes. [4]
  • Type 1 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes among children, but can also be diagnosed in adults.
  • Type 2 diabetes, once thought to only affect adults, is a growing issue among children. Less than 0.8 per 100,000 children under 10 are affected by T2D—however in children 10-19, that rate raises to 11 per 100,000. [5]
  • Children are at higher risk if one or both parents also have diabetes.
Co-Occurring Conditions with Diabetes
  • Especially with type 1 diabetes, people are at higher risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.
  • Specifically, people with diabetes are more likely to develop Celiac disease and thyroid disorders, specifically hypothyroidism []. As well, Addison’s Disease is another autoimmune condition that may develop in people with T1D. [6]
  • Having diabetes is a risk factor for many other diseases. Taking control of diabetes can help prevent many diabetes related complications.
Regardless of the type of diabetes, diabetes is NOT a person’s “fault”. People should never be blamed for having diabetes—it doesn’t help! People with diabetes need the support of friends and family to help them stay healthy. If you have a friend or family member with diabetes, be educated and learn all you can about their type of diabetes, but don’t try to police their food choices or blood sugar levels—their diabetes is their responsibility! Ask them how you can help—and accept it if they say they are fine!. If they don’t already, encourage them to wear a diabetes medical ID bracelet or necklace to stay safe with the ups and downs of diabetes.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month (or American Diabetes Month)—if you missed World Diabetes Day on November 14, you can still wish your friends and family a happy Diabetes Awareness Month and share what you have learned!

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