Hispanic health: Addressing 4 myths about Type 2 diabetes

(BPT) – Chances are you know someone with type 2 diabetes (T2D) – whether it be a parent, cousin, neighbor or a co-worker. Yet, did you know that diabetes disproportionately affects the Hispanic community in the United States? In fact, nearly 16.9 percent of Hispanic-American adults in the U.S. are living with T2D, compared to 10.2 percent of non-Hispanic white adults, according to The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL).

As Hispanic populations grow in the U.S., the number of Hispanics with diabetes is expected to grow with it. That’s why it’s important to get the facts about some of the common myths and misconceptions that are associated with type 2 diabetes so you and your family can make educated health care decisions.

Myths and Facts

Below are some common myths and misconceptions, and corresponding facts associated with type 2 diabetes and insulin treatment.

Myth 1: I have type 2 diabetes because I didn’t take care of myself.

Fact: The truth is diabetes is a result of a number of factors. These include family and medical history, ethnicity and age, which all play a role in whether or not someone is predisposed to diabetes.

Myth 2: Beginning treatment with insulin is going to cause me to change my entire lifestyle.

Fact: As diabetes changes over time, your treatment may need to change with it. The natural progression of type 2 diabetes may lead to a patient taking insulin – many people with diabetes are prescribed insulin, sometimes because their bodies do not use insulin properly. Insulin can be incorporated into your daily schedule as part of your meal and treatment plan.

Myth 3: “I can’t enjoy the holidays or family time because I won’t be able to have the foods I love.”

Fact: The truth is you can still enjoy the foods that you love – just in moderation. The foods you like may be a healthy option or a sweet treat, so keep an eye on portion control and make smart choices throughout the day. Talk to your health care provider to get specific guidance on a healthy meal plan.

Myth 4: “Diabetes can be cured if I eat healthy, and once I reach my blood sugar goal, I can stop my medication.”

Fact: The truth is there is no cure for diabetes. However it can often be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. Eating healthy and getting regular exercise, along with medications such as insulin, can help control your blood sugar levels. It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider about the best treatment plan for you, as well as how often you should test your blood sugar and have regular A1C tests.

Separating Fact from Fiction

“Myths and misconceptions about T2D can get in the way of people making informed decisions about their health. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor, ask questions and work with him or her to develop a treatment plan that works for you,” says Dr. Frank Lavernia, founder and director of the North Broward Diabetes Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. “Facts and information are empowering, but separating diabetes facts from fiction can be difficult at times. That’s where the Basado en Hechos initiative can help.”

The Basado en Hechos initiative is designed to help dispel some type 2 diabetes myths and misconceptions that may be common among the Hispanic community. At basadoenhechos.com, you can watch a video that addresses some myths about type 2 diabetes and insulin, as well as find information about a diabetes treatment option.

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