(BPT) - A disease so prevalent that it is labeled an epidemic in America, diabetes affects nearly 26 million children and adults, according to the American Diabetes Association (the Association). As this number grows, so does the urgency of finding a cure.
Health experts around the world research type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes in hopes of discovering a cure. More than 13,000 top scientists, physicians and other health care professionals will share their cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations and other diabetes advances at the Association's 73rd annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago June 21 to 25, 2013.
Although Scientific Sessions is primarily for medical professionals, its core is about improving the lives of people affected by diabetes - shaping the direction of research, technology and care with a focus on treatment and prevention and ultimately finding a cure for this devastating disease.
You don't need to be a health expert to benefit from the information shared at the conference. A special video News Bureau translates the in-depth scientific findings into an easy-to-understand format available through the Association's social media channels. Visit www.diabetes.org/breakingnews to view short briefings and interviews produced onsite last year, as well as information as it becomes available this year at the event.
Staying informed is an important part of managing a diabetes diagnosis. The Association helps those affected by diabetes sort through the information out there and better understand the facts. Here are some of the top myths and misconceptions about diabetes:
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is just one risk factor; other risk factors are family history, ethnicity and age. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone - low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and "dietetic" foods generally offer no special benefit.
Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions.
Myth: People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.
Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes. However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and therefore serious complications are more likely to develop.
For more information, visit www.diabetes.org.