Busting Myths about Diabetes


November is American Diabetes Month. At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we want to take this opportunity to share information about this disease which can have significant effects on the health of your feet. We find that there is much misinformation that exists concerning diabetes. Get the facts, below, as we explore some common myths:

MYTH: Diabetes isn’t really a serious problem.

FACT: Diabetes is responsible for more deaths every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Having diabetes also nearly doubles your chances of having a heart attack. When it comes to your feet, conditions associated with the disease such as neuropathy (nerve damage) and decreased circulation can make even minor conditions like ingrown toenails or blisters a major health threat. Small wounds can cause infections that can lead to complications including amputations. The good news is that you can reduce your risk for diabetes and manage this disease with proper care.

MYTH: Being overweight and eating too much sugar is what causes diabetes.

FACT: Neither weight nor sugar “cause” diabetes. Being overweight (which can be the result in part from too much sugar in your diet) is one factor that increases your risk for developing diabetes, but there are other risk factors, including:

  • Family history

  • Ethnicity

  • Age

  • Physical activity level

Many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only slightly overweight.

MYTH: Diabetes is contagious.

FACT: Diabetes is definitely not contagious—you can’t “catch it” from another person who has it, like the cold or flu.

MYTH: People who have diabetes can’t eat sweets or foods high in carbohydrates such as potatoes and pasta.

FACT: In reality, the meal plan for a diabetic patient is generally the same as a healthy meal plan for anyone. It should be low in saturated fat, moderate in salt and sugar, with menus that are mostly comprised of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and fruit. Cakes, cookies and other sweet treats can be enjoyed in small portions for special occasions as part of a healthy eating plan and lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

If you are concerned about diabetes and the health of your feet, make an appointment at our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office. One of our podiatrists Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko can examine your feet and answer any questions you may have.