Diabetes Etiquette (for people without diabetes)

By Nonna2Three Latest Reply 2013-06-07 13:58:49 -0500
Started 2011-06-13 17:29:10 -0500

Behavioral Diabetes Institute (BDI) website has a pdf on Diabetes Etiquette (for people without diabetes) and I thought it was worth sharing.

Here is the link to the resources page where you can access the pdf file or order printed cards: http://behavioraldiabetesinstitute.org/resour...

And, here are the 10 rules of Diabetes Etiquette in plain text:

1 - DON'T offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes. You may mean well, but giving advice about someone's personal habits, especially when it is not requested, isn't very nice. Besides, many of the popularly held beliefs about diabetes ("you should just stop eating sugar") are out of date or just plain wrong.

2 - DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work. Diabetes management is a full-time job that I didn't apply for, didn't want, and can't quit. It involves thinking about what, when, and how much I eat, while also factoring in exercise, medication, stress, blood sugar monitoring, and so much more - each and every day.

3 - DON'T tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about. Diabetes is scary enough, and stories like these are not reassuring! Besides, we now know that with good management, odds are good you can live a long, healthy, and happy life with diabetes.

4 - DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle changes. Not having to be alone with efforts to change, like starting an exercise program, is one of the most powerful ways that you can be helpful. After all, healthy lifestyle changes can benefit everyone!

5 - DON'T look so horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself an injection. It is not a lot of fun for me either. Checking blood sugars and taking medications are things I must do to manage diabetes well. If I have to hide while I do so, it makes it much harder for me.

6 - DO ask how you might be helpful. If you want to be supportive, there may be lots of little things I would probably appreciate your help with. However, what I really need may be very different than what you think I need, so please ask first.

7 - DON'T offer thoughtless reassurances. When you first learn about my diabetes, you may want to reassure me by saying things like, "Hey, it could be worse; you could have cancer!" This won't make me feel better. And the implicit message seems to be that diabetes is no big deal. However, diabetes (like cancer) IS a big deal

8 - DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care. Help me set up an environment for success by supporting healthy food choices. Please honor my decision to decline a particular food, even when you really want me to try it. You are most helpful when you are not being a source of unnecessary temptation.

9 - DON'T peek at or comment on my blood glucose numbers without asking me first. These numbers are private unless I choose to share them. It is normal to have numbers that are sometimes too low or too high. Your unsolicited comments about these numbers can add to the disappointment, frustration, and anger I already feel.

10 - DO offer your love and encouragement. As I work hard to manage diabetes successfully, sometimes just knowing that you care can be very helpful and motivating.

37 replies

Set apart
Set apart 2013-02-24 07:37:49 -0600 Report

I love this!!!!!!!!! I've got a coworker who says that's it's a good thing it happened to me since I am so strong and she can't handle needles!!!!!! That sure makes me feel better NOT! Thanks for this!

sadi23 2011-10-11 19:31:54 -0500 Report

BOY!!! I wish this was on each site, with each condition…send it to everyone you know!!!thanks so very much…love it

GabbyPA 2011-06-19 09:52:52 -0500 Report

I can't believe I missed this on the site. This is a great post!! Thank you so much. I think it would be good to print out and hand to those people that are just bugging you.

Sonya Slim
Sonya Slim 2011-06-19 06:43:48 -0500 Report

This actually made me giggle a little. <3

Sonya Slim
Sonya Slim 2011-06-19 06:45:41 -0500 Report

I love it when my mother in law will make a sugar free apple pie for her husband who is diabetic but doesn't include me at family gatherings. too funny. Maybe I just don't look diabetic to her. I also love it when she sends sweets over every week for my family! How nice!

the diabetic camper
the diabetic camper 2011-06-17 13:13:37 -0500 Report

If I had a dollar for everytime I heard: My (fill in the blank) is a diabetic, but they don't take care of themselves. I just tell them how unfortunate that is and go on my way. It is like if I went to the cancer ward of the hospital and told everyone there they should have taken care of themselves so they wouldn't have to have cancer. We are a cruel society. www.thediabeticcamper.blogspot.com

marla50 2011-06-17 09:15:42 -0500 Report

that's so appropriate! I like #3. People are always ready to tel me about there great uncle or aunt that had to have something amputated. Thanks for shareing

Gemm 2011-06-16 09:52:12 -0500 Report

thank you so much for this - my husband and I both have diabetes and are often given unsolicited advice on how to manage it and sometimes won't take any answer back such as I discuss it with my doctor and follow his advice

purple1900 2011-06-15 21:11:00 -0500 Report

I might have to email this to a few family members who like to tell me that diabetes is my fault and if I ate better I would have never gotten diabetes. Thank you

Sonya Slim
Sonya Slim 2011-06-19 06:42:59 -0500 Report

You are kidding me? They blame you? Shame on them!

purple1900 2011-06-19 07:02:41 -0500 Report

I have some really rude family members. They also like to tell me what I'm eating isn't healthy for me if I decide to have a bag of chips because I missed the bus home and got hungry

Nonna2Three 2011-06-19 09:12:18 -0500 Report

They apparently don't understand Diabetes very well. It's better to snack chips than risk going hypo. And, as my doctor told me, I was genetically predisposed to Diabetes. Different diet habits could have delayed the onset, but as he put it, I was going to get it eventually. I am fourth generation (confirmed) and could be a higher generation. And every generation did not have bad eating habits. My grandmother was a nurse and was very conscientious and she had Diabetes most of her life. She rarely, if ever, ate unhealthy foods. My Uncle was a very nice looking man. He maintained his sailor physique years and years after his time in the Navy, but when he had a mild heart attack it set a ball rolling that eventually affected his system enough that his Diabetes kicked in. I myself was slightly overweight, but not obese and I developed it, and yet my mother, who is obese, has maintained pre-diabetes status for nearly 20 years.

Yes, you really need to share the pdf with them.

Nonna2Three 2011-06-19 09:15:09 -0500 Report

And, as a footnote - my grandmother lived to be 93 and had Diabetes for as far back as I can remember in childhood memories.

sadi23 2011-10-11 19:36:16 -0500 Report

Mine as well, now that I have Diabetes, I think of her throughout the day, and remember what i always ate with her, and it was just what I am to eat today…I miss her…thanks

cavie2 2011-06-14 16:25:58 -0500 Report

I like all the rest really liked this post and a few of them I have also experienced. Can I also let it be know that your like button is not working I have pressed it till my mouse was screaming No No and still it did not register any likes!!!

JoleneAL 2011-06-14 14:40:49 -0500 Report

I had all those "at least not cancer" stuff when I was first diagnosed, even had one gal chide me for eating what I was eating during lunch because "You won't cure your diabetes eating like that". I took this and posted it on my FB page … thanks!

Narg 2011-06-14 14:01:08 -0500 Report

It's amazing how far a little courtesy can go… Espcially when applied like we were taught when we were young, and when applied without deviation from those teachings.

OhSoBlessed 2011-06-14 09:25:43 -0500 Report

Opened my eyes to a few things I hope to avoid saying or doing…I do not have diabetes but living with a family member who does and want to do all I can to be supportive. Thanks for posting this article.

I think the list can easily be applied to any chronic illness.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-06-14 07:28:48 -0500 Report

Great list. No.7 is especially good. One of my sisters said at leasst it's not cancer when I told her I have diabetes. Shortly after the diagnosis I learned there were precancerous colon polyps removed during my colonscopy. Then a month later faced another cancer possibility. Felt about the same to me to be told each diagnoses. Luckily there was no cancer found in the tumor. By being caught in time the colon cancer potential was removed and will only need checked every few years. Sure beats the daily dealing with diabetes. As to the other cancer scare I had there was a greater chance of being cured if it had been cancerous than of diabetes being cured at this point in medical history. The thought of undergoing chemo and radiation terrified me, there was the potential for complications and worry about reoccurance. However the complications I have seen others face with diabetes has not really made living life with diabetes sound much better.

Susanbut170@yahoo.com 2011-06-13 19:57:25 -0500 Report

I really enjoyed reading this post as it so helpful especailly for people with diabetes, and it is so true because it is hard facing these problems and sometimes even family members make you feel different and this is something I think all of diabetics can relate to, and this hits home to me, because sometimes I have given advice that probally was not really encouraging but I try to be as positive as can be. So, with this information I will print it for my family memebers, as they can be mean when they want to be, and to show them that I really need encouragement not to be shunned or made fun when I do the right thing, and for me, sometimes the family can be your biggest enemy, well, hopefully not for everyone, however, for me this has been my experience. Thank you for the post it is awsome!


Louri 2011-06-13 19:34:35 -0500 Report

Thank you for posting! This really hits home. There are a lot of us w/ diabetes where I work, so I am going to post this around the building for our co-workers!

jeffrey9127 2011-06-13 19:11:47 -0500 Report

I am glad that you posted this. I may even order the cards to give out to people who want to "help" me, and give advice.

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