Diabetes Type Discrimination Amongst Diabetics Themselves

By DiabeticParents Latest Reply 2014-12-10 02:33:20 -0600
Started 2009-08-19 22:00:18 -0500

I often overhear blasts from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. On one blog I read "We didn't choose to get this disease" from one T1 diabetic. I agree. But why the rude blast to a Type 2 diabetic asking a simple question about caring for her diabetes? I've also heard comments like "Type 1 diabetes is an immune disorder. Type 2 diabetes is a choice." Working in the medical field, I've tried very hard to distinguish the two and make others aware that T1 and T2 diabetes are very different.

Having a spouse with diabetes is a tough one. When he was in his teens, his Mom tells me she only had to tell people he had diabetes and it was easy. Now that he's in his early 30's, I have found myself distinguishing the two with people. I now find that I introduce my husband or myself as the "spouse of a Type 1 diabetic" or telling people that "my husband has Type 1 diabetes."

Others argue with me. A friend said, "You should just say that he's diabetic. All people who have diabetes no matter the type are diabetics. Not Type 1, or Type 2." Maybe she's right. Or maybe she's wrong.

When we had the "Night of Healthy Eating Party" there were some major differences. The Type 1's kept asking me how many carbohydrates a meal had. Then you saw them giving a bolus. The Type 2's often asked me how many carbohydrates and how many calories a meal had. Most of the Type 2's were on a calorie restriction diet of some sort.

Can you really lump the two together? If a pregnant women said, "I have diabetes" would you assume it was gestational, Type 1 or Type 2? Most outside the diabetic community would probably assume gestational.

This comment from one of our readers was awesome and I thought that I should add it:
"My husband was diagnosed at age 23 with T1D and my daughter was diagnosed at age 4 with the same. My father is a T2D. Unfortunately, I think in large part due to the misinformation the public at large has with respect to the different types of diabetes, a lot of T1Ds feel like they get lumped in with T2D directed media and have to field ignorant comments about what they eat, etc. It often feels like no one gets it that T1D is managed differently than T2D which breeds a lot of frustration and anger. Sadly, that anger and frustration is often directed at the wrong people. I will say we try very hard as a family not to judge or assume things because we so dislike it when we're on the receiving end of that type of behavior. However, I also have to say when some well meaning person tells my daughter they "understand" because they have T2D which they got at 50 and do not have to check 10 times per day, wear a pump, take insulin for every carb and basal, wear a CGMS or carry tabs and glucagon for fear of immediate coma or death - we do fight the urge to roll our eyes. I will also say personally, I hate the TV ads about "diabetiss" that talk about coding meters as if it rocket science or that eating the right foods and more exercise helps manage blood sugars. They NEVER say this is for T2D which is part of the reason the public thinks my daughter just shouldn't eat cupcakes and exercise more and then she'd be okay. We actually had a Costco employee sampling food tell her she's be cured if she took this supplement her doctor gave her that "cured" her diabetes - and yes I did assume T2D at that point. It is this kind of attitude and behavior that gets irritating, especially when it happens so often- even with people who are otherwise very intelligent. D stinks all the way around- for T1 and T2 and T1.5 and gestational, etc - it really does. However, I do sometimes feel like part of the D package seems to be constantly educating people on crazy myths, common misconceptions and just grossly inaccurate information which gets annoying regardless of the Type. I wish they all had different names, really. I often get asked if my daughter will grow out of it or if she has the "bad" type - as if any type is good. In the end, though, we all share the common goal of a cure - for all types."

Have you experienced diabetic type discrimination? Do you find this to be true or not?

1 reply

Beca1 2014-12-10 02:33:20 -0600 Report

From what I have gathered is that type 2's don't take insulin and type 1's do. Both types need to watch their consumption of Carbs, both types need to be careful of what they eat and their weight if they are over weight. Both types have to be concerned with their hearts, skin, kidneys, eyes and basically the same issues. Diabetes is a malfunction in the body and we do need to change our life-style and get weight under control if this is an issue. Me, I just don't tell anyone my personal stuff, it does not matter if I am type 1 or 2 it is no one's business.

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