Dispelling misconceptions about diabetes is an important step for both those affected by the disease and those surrounding them.

We know that diabetes is challenging to manage, but diabetes education can help. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.

1. People develop prediabetes or type 2 diabetes because they are overweight and inactive.

While being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle are certainly risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, they are not the only risk factors. Family history plays a significant role, as does having a parent or sibling with any history of 2 diabetes. People of Hispanic, African American, Native American and Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic backgrounds are at greater risk.

2. People with diabetes need to avoid sugary foods and sweets.

Diabetes is at least two different diseases with the same name. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body slowly stops making sufficient insulin in the pancreas to manage glucose levels. With prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, people are unable to use the insulin they make to manage glucose levels and slowly over the course of years stop making as much insulin as they need. To manage blood glucose levels, people usually need to take one or more glucose-lowering medications in addition to eating healthfully and being physically active. But, with proper management and portion controls, they can eat most foods they enjoy.

3. All people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need to take insulin.

Due to the progressive nature of type 2 diabetes after many years, even if diabetes is well managed, people commonly need to take insulin by injections or an insulin pump. People are encouraged to work with their healthcare providers to use the increasing number of glucose-lowering medications—most taken by mouth and some injectable—to manage glucose levels overtime.

Perhaps one of the greatest myths about having diabetes is that no matter what one does to manage it, complications will develop. Today we know more than ever before that this is far from the truth. With education, support, proper treatment and sufficient follow up, people with diabetes can live long, fulfilling and healthy lives.