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Diabetes Health Center

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Type 1 Diabetes: Are You as Smart as a 2nd Grader?

Rumor Has It continued...

Let’s set the record straight about some other common tales, the kind of hurtful hearsay that many people with type 1 diabetes often hear:

“You must have OD’d on sugar to get type 1 diabetes.”

Not so.

“Type 1 is like being hit by lightning. It happens sometimes, and it’s not anybody’s fault,” says Steven Griffen, MD, a vice president for JDRF (formerly called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). “Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, and researchers are still trying to get a clear picture about genetic and environmental factors that may play roles, including exposure to viruses or bacteria that live in your gut.”

One thing we do know, though, is that it’s not brought on by too much sugar.

“Could it come from getting a vaccine as a kid?”

Scientists haven’t found a link between vaccines and type 1 diabetes.

“You put on too much weight. That’s what caused it.”

No, weight is not to blame for the disease, either. Obesity and inactivity are big risk factors for type 2 diabetes and many other health problems, but there’s no such connection to type 1.

“Oh, you have the ‘bad’ kind of diabetes.”

There’s no "good" kind of diabetes, nor is it a matter of better or worse. Types 1 and 2 are different, and they have to be managed as such.

“I can’t catch it, can I?”

Nope. Diabetes is not contagious.

“No sweets for you!”

Wrong. In fact, that’s just what the doctor orders when blood sugar nosedives, a condition called low blood sugar or "hypoglycemia."

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, diagnosed with type 1 at age 7, wrote in her autobiography about a time she set all good manners aside to grab and stuff cake in her mouth to fend off a sugar low.

You can eat or drink anything you want as long as you take the right amount of insulin to balance out the carbohydrates.

“It’s probably not a good idea to play sports.”

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