5. A diabetes diagnosis means you automatically need insulin. That's the case with type 1 diabetes but not with type 2 diabetes. In some cases, proper diet, exercise, and oral medications, if needed, can keep type 2 diabetes under control for some time before insulin becomes necessary, McLaughlin says. The key is to make a lifestyle change. That means no smoking, more healthful eating habits, and regular exercise.
6. Only older people get diabetes. These days, children as young as age 5 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, McLaughlin says. That's a big change from 20 or 30 years ago. When a child or adolescent was diagnosed back then, she says, "you could be almost 100 percent sure that he or she had type 1," which is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. Not anymore. To help prevent diabetes in children, parents should try to encourage good habits for the entire family. That means less video game and TV time, more physical activity, less junk food, and smaller portions.
Additional reporting by Megan Johnson.
Updated on 11/11/10: This is an updated version of a previously published story.