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Quiz: Myths and Facts About Type 2 Diabetes

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People who have it can’t eat sweets.

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People who have it can’t eat sweets.

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Good news! Dessert is not off the menu. You do need to watch your weight and eat a healthy, balanced diet. But you can have sweets in moderation, and as part of a healthy meal plan.

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It won't kill you.

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It won't kill you.

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Type 2 diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of heart disease. If you have it, your overall death risk is about twice that of people your age who don’t.

People who have type 2 diabetes have:

People who have type 2 diabetes have:

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Insulin is a hormone that helps your body turn sugar into energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don't respond to it like they should. This is called insulin resistance. When it happens, sugar backs up in your blood. Your pancreas makes even more insulin to get rid of the sugar. So you wind up with too much of both.

You don't always have symptoms.

You don't always have symptoms.

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Almost a third of people with diabetes (not just type 2 diabetes) don't know they have it.

Which of these is a common symptom of high blood sugar?

Which of these is a common symptom of high blood sugar?

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People with high blood sugar are often extremely thirsty. Other symptoms include dry mouth, being hungry more (especially after you eat), peeing more, fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches. Type 2 diabetes can also cause itching, numbness, and tingling in your hands and feet. You may notice that wounds heal more slowly than they used to. You could gain weight without knowing why, get frequent yeast infections, and have sexual problems.

Kids don’t get type 2 diabetes.

Kids don’t get type 2 diabetes.

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Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But you can get it at any age. Doctors are seeing more kids who have it.

You can prevent it.

You can prevent it.

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This disease doesn't start suddenly. Some people are first diagnosed with prediabetes (also called impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose). Lifestyle changes like weight loss, eating a healthier diet, and getting more exercise can often ward off full-blown diabetes. If you're at high risk, taking the prescription drug metformin can help. But you have to be willing to make lifestyle changes, too.

Lifestyle changes can cut your diabetes risk by:

Lifestyle changes can cut your diabetes risk by:

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In a recent study, people at high risk for type 2 diabetes were put on a weight loss and physical activity plan for 3 years. Researchers found it lowered their chances of getting the disease by 58%. The news was even better for people age 60 or older -- their odds went down by 71%.

This drink this can make you less likely to get diabetes:

This drink this can make you less likely to get diabetes:

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People who often enjoy a cup of joe may be less likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who don't . Experts say the benefit isn't related to caffeine, but to other things in coffee -- like antioxidants or magnesium and chromium. They all help your body use insulin. Still, no studies have proven that drinking it prevents the disease.

Which makes you more likely to get type 2 diabetes?

Which makes you more likely to get type 2 diabetes?

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High-sugar or high-salt diets are only risk factors if they lead to obesity. Others include age, family history, inactivity, and ethnicity -- people of African, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Latino heritage have a higher risk. But even having one or more of the risk factors doesn’t mean you’ll get the disease.

Having it could make you more likely to get:

Having it could make you more likely to get:

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Over time, high blood sugar can cause eye problems and blindness, heart disease, nerve and blood vessel damage, kidney disease, and other major health problems. There's no evidence that diabetes causes prostate cancer or arthritis.

Over time, people who have it can also develop:

Over time, people who have it can also develop:

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These two often go together. The CDC says depression is twice as common among people with diabetes as everyone else. But it's not clear which comes first, or that one causes the other.

 

High blood pressure is often a complication of diabetes. People who have it are also more likely to get gum disease.

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