Diabetic foot care is a part of each day for board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center. Many of our diabetic patients are well-educated about how to care for their feet, but misunderstandings still surround every aspect of this disease. So in honor of National Diabetes Month, we’re focusing this November’s blog entry on shattering some common diabetes myths.
Myth #1: Only obese people get diabetes. To squash this belief, it’s important to understand that there are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can strike anyone no matter their size, age, or race. Type 1 diabetics don’t produce insulin, a hormone that aids in converting carbohydrates to energy. In contrast, Type 2 diabetics can produce insulin, but they either don’t produce enough of it or their body becomes insulin-resistant and can’t use it properly. Being overweight is only one risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Others include race, gender, activity level, and family history.
Myth #2: Eating sugar gives you diabetes. Eating sugar contributes to being overweight, but it’s not a direct cause of diabetes (see Myth #2). Diabetics can eat sugar as long as they watch their total intake.
Myth #3: You have to give yourself insulin shots if you’ve got diabetes. Insulin injections are a reality for people with Type 1. But they’re not the first course of treatment for Type 2. When other methods of controlling blood sugar are no longer effective, insulin injections may come into the picture for people with Type 2. In addition, many diabetics can forego actual needles; instead, they wear an insulin pump that delivers the hormone automatically in the proper doses.
Myth #4: All you need to fight diabetes is diet and exercise. Some people with Type 2 diabetes are quite successful at lowering their A1C levels by carefully monitoring their diet and staying active. Others will need help from oral medications. Eventually, the majority of diabetics will need insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood sugar levels.
Quality foot care is no myth at our Fairfax County podiatry office. Come to us for expert, caring treatment of all foot problems, including those related to diabetes. Call us in Centreville, Virginia at (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.