A slight rant on people who use the word "diabetes" to describe type one and two

Im really hoping I am not the only person who feels this way. All through school I absolutely hated "healthy class". My main reason for despising it was due to that movie "Supersize Me" . Its not so much the film I have an issue with....as much as it is the fact that through that entire documentary they failed to correctly describe Type one and type two diabetes. They just said "diabeties" or "diabetic".

Now for some reason we had to watch the stupid movie, every single year when I was in middle school. I am a type one diabetic, have been since the day of my 8th birthday. Generally everyone in school knew I was a diabetic.

SO when that movie was on and my class was basically told that eating mcdonalds too much would make you fat and make you become a diabetic...every head turned to stare at me. It didnt help that I was heavier at that time and was "overwieght". SO everyone in my class, including my teacher, assumed that my disease was caused by me overeating and getting fat.

It was a nightmare! I have absolutely nothing against type 2 diabetics, i really dont, and i think that tv makes them out to be some sort of villian and it is very wrong. However being 13 at the time and having everyone think that i was a type 2 diabetic who had "brought it upon my self" was absolutly infuriating!

Really how difficult is it to simply say Type 2 diabetes when talking about the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle....its not that difficult, and it would solve a lot of confusion. I for one now 19 years old am getting pretty sick and tired of having people look at me funny, critisize what i eat, tell me that i am not allowed to eat this or that, and assume that i "ate to much candy as a child" and thats why I have to take insulin....

Well you can’t just say type 2 is related to unhealthy lifestyle and people who are overweight. There are thin healthy eating type 2s as well. It’s up to us to educate people about our D and what it entails. I would have taken the chance to educate my classmates on type 1 and type 2 if I were you. I’m a very straight forward person. It’s like when people see my hearing aids and are like wow you’re too young to be deaf and they think its something I did like listening to music too loud. You have to educate people one person at a time. There are gonna be those who want to learn and are happy about what you tell them and there are going to be those who will still disagree with you because of what they’ve seen in the media.

Not sure if you’ve started university or college or anything yet but people are usually less ignorant and more knowledgeable by then lol :slight_smile:

In short I don’t believe changing the name of diabetes or type 1/type 2 is really gonna change anything.

I dont think that type 2 is only related to an unhealthy lifestyle. I did not correctly communicate what i was wanting to say. I meant that because a majority of people believe that type 2 is what "fat" or "unhealthy" people get, it was hard as a young teen being a type one diabeic who was not thin and having my peers judge and make fun of me. I understand that thin people who eat well can have type 2. And whilst I have no problem explaining things to people now...as a 12, 13 year old...i think it was very irresponsible of my educators to have let that nonsense happen, and i dont think it is entirly my responsibility to educate people. people should choose to be understanding and not jump to conclusions or make comments on things they know nothing about. It is my responsibility not to hide my disease, clear up confusion when needed, and to be open and honest with people yes, but it is definatly not my responsibily to educate everyone around me.

Yes...I can well understand, Sarah, that trying to educate people about their assumptions and misinformation would be unnerving for most 12 year olds.
I don't think I would have been brave enough to, at 12!!!
There are SO SO many variations to both Type 1 and Type 2 (and the other types)...and as Alicia pointed out, we cannot assume that Type 2 diabetics are "one size fits all" pardon the pun ;)
There's a group here for Type 2 teens, as that demographics is getting more and more common. More and more Type 1 are being dx later in life also.
You could have a room filled with 200 people with diabetes and no 2 would be the same. Fascinating...yet frightening at the same time!!
I really respect your decision to NOT hide your diabetes.

I think we all feel frustration at being judged and in particularly being judged with false stereotypes. And movies like SuperSize Me, which many people valued because it did encourage people to make some positive changes, is also riddled with errors and distortions. Tom Naughton sought to find out the actual facts behind the SuperSize Me movie and the lack of evidence led him to do a counterpoint movie "FatHead." If you haven't seen it, check it out.

And unfortunately, the failure to understand diabetes is rampant, even in the healthcare professionals who should know better. And, so I sympathize. Not because T1 and T2 are misunderstood, but because all diabetes is misunderstood.

The general (non diabetic) public is absolutely clueless.

I have to say that so are a lot of Type 2 diabetics, they have not a clue about testing or why you should test and are not told by their doctors.

That's why whenever there is a news story on "diabetes" I contact the reporter (print and TV) telling them that there are major differences between type 1 and type 2 and so their story may not apply to everyone. I am very careful to describe the differences and to inform the reporter(s) that type 2 is genetic (while people with type 2 do have to take action and responsibility) and that type 1 is largely an autoimmune disease. I close my saying that adding a few syllables ("type 1" or "type 2" to there report would go a long way in being accurate and reaching the right audience. I also do this a couple weeks before National Diabetes month. I tell them that since so much of the news is about type 2 - e.g. new meds - it is important that the story be addressed to people with type 2.

If they respond back I add info as to how diabetes is one disease for which the media and public blame the patient - again stressing the genetics role in type 2 and the autoimmune thing in type 1.

The one reporter who said she would work to be specific was Joy Bauer of the Today show. So far so good.

I just really don’t understand why everyone is so insistent on this point. Diabetes is diabetes— there are two major types. I wasn’t thrilled about the preconceived stereotypes i had either, most of which were based on type 2 (and most of which were wrong)— but what does insisting on pointing out the differences in orgin of a condition really make? I don’t see people with HIV going to such lengths to point out the origin of their condition, even though the stereotypes of that are much worse than diabetes… So I guess I really just don’t understand the fuss.

I think that ever since Ryan White, and Elton John's very pu8blic support of that lad, HIV and AIDS doesn't have quite the stigma it used to. The reason for insisting on clear definitions is to stop the blaming of people with diabetes - of any type. Personally, when I was first diagnosed because I was 30, I was initially mis-dx'd with type 2. Now I was 5'6" and weighed 96 lbs, but people still insisted that if I lost 10% (thus about 10 lbs) I would be "cured".

It is important that the public realize that there aren't any cures yet, that people who control with diet and exercise still have diabetes, they just are able to deal with it without meds. My strong reaction to this issue is that the public uses the word "diabetic" as a noun and it is a noun that is often meant derogatorily.

the points are outlined in the on-line petition and what this poster mentioned. the points are the ignorance, and more importanly even, treatment regarding the 2 TOTALLY different types. I don't have any metabolic syndromes and I doubt that any child, especially a 4, 5, 8 month old baby in DKA diagnosed with type 1, in ICU, has any high blood pressure, weight to lose, or high cholesterol. That's the point. Also, type 1 is still rare, type 2 is epidemic. The point is misdiagnosis when it comes to type 1 because health care providers, non-endos specifically, have no clue that an adult can get type 1 because of their age, they have no clue, even though type 1 diabetes is a clearly defined (diagnosable) autoimmune disease. Type 2 is not.

A short time after my type 1 Dx I was terribly sick, ended up in the ER, at this point, I probably weighed 88 lbs. I had both an ER doctor and nurse tell me an adult can't get type 1..ah, OK...but they kept shaking their heads saying, "but, how can YOU have type 2 diabetes - something doesn't seem right here." They had no clue about GAD 65 antibodies, cpeptide..it was ridiculous.

me too, this bothers me so much. i sent an email to novo nordisk about their levemir - novolog commercials with their targets now at type 2 diabetes but just using 'diabetes' generic terms. Also, type 2 can be genetic, but not always. Type 1 can be genetic, but not always. Those aren't the defining differences. type 1 isn't 'largely' an autoimmune disease, it is in fact an autoimmune disease.

Your story is like mine, not a child so it must be type 2. I have no diabetes in my family at all so I didn't know to question. It wasn't until I was in the ER in DKA when the attending endo saw me, saw that the records had me as having type 2. He went apoplectic! Thank God for him I'm alive.

I totally agree that real, accurate information about D is seriously lacking, and that misinformation is rampant. I don't like being told to 'lose weight and it'll go away', and I do use those opportunities to educate. I'm also too old to let ignorant comments bother me personally, ruin my day, upset me....

This is a subject that is talked about a LOT in the DOC. We have a thread here that's been active since January 2009, and has 2,647 comments called 'Whats the most annoying comment you've ever gotten about diabetes?'. Some of them are incredible! I don't like being told to 'lose weight and it'll go away', and I do use those opportunities to educate. I'm also too old to let ignorant comments bother me personally, ruin my day, upset me....

So, assuming that there are about 2,000 different people who replied to that discussion, then imagine that each one of them did something small in their community to change the misperceptions about diabetes. I was at an acquaintance's office last week, and had to do a correction bolus. I asked if he knew what my pump was. He didn't, so I spent a few minutes educating him on various types and tx for D. When I was leaving 5 minutes later, I heard him in the (small) company's lunchroom saying "Wow, I just learned something I didn't know!" and proceeding to excitedly pass on the info I had given him to 9 more people.

What can each of us do in our communities, in our day-to-day encounters, to forward our sometimes desperate desire to have D better understood by more people? When you get your insulin at the pharmacy, can you have a short conversation with the pharmacist, who may not understand? Can you put up a sign in your local convenience store with a url that does a good job explaining D? Can you have a conversation with the nurse's aide who takes your bp before the doc sees you for a bad cold?

Let's put our energy into coming up with and sharing some concrete ideas about how we can begin to change the public perception of D. The breast cancer community has done a wonderful job of this. (I've been part of that community as well.) I have a well-visit appointment for my dogs with their vet tomorrow, and will take 5 minutes to have a conversation with her about D. What will you do?

i'd prefer to not have this conversation with anyone...i'd prefer that when using the word 'diabetes' in the media or anywhere, it's clarified as to what type is being referred to; type 1 or type 2 rather than a blanket 'diabetes', that's it or change the stupid names. it's as easy as that.

Agreed, if people constantly referred by name to which specific type they are discussing, it would eventually dawn on the public that there is more than one type. And from there, maybe we could dare hope that the general public learns about how the two are different. Someday.

Sorry to hear this happened to you too. But yeah...this just seems to be a malpractice suit waiting to happen too. honestly, i thought about even doing this, I was so angry. I knew something was terribly wrong, had no idea what it was and just went to a Nurse Practioner. I was already having labored breathing, throwing ketones everywhere (my family could smell them on me), so sick...and she says, "you have type 2 diabetes and gives me metformin"...but she too kept shaking her head, not understanding how I could have type 2 diabetes but had NO clue adults could get type 1. My A1C and fasting BG's were sky high. My family said, "no, this isn't right." I was able to get an emergency appointment with an endo the next day; I walked in and she put me into the hospital as I was going DKA. What if i hadn't made it through the night, ya know. We do indeed need awareness.

Also, Sam....HIV and full blown AIDS (using your example) are not the same. If some has HIV but hasn't developed into full blown AIDS, I believe the distinction is made, the treatments and outcome are very different, from what I know about the virus. If someone is Dx with lung cancer, that doesn't mean they have breast cancer too, different things.

My reference was to imply that you don’t see people with HIV insisting on calling it “non promiscuous homosexual or intravenous drug user HIV” in order to preemptively strike down the stereotypes associated with it. Whereas it seems to me the debate about specifying type 1 diabetes exists because people don’t want to be associated with the stereotype of “fat lazy physically unfit diabetes” am I wrong?

I see that the name change argument has not gone away. Fundamentally I do not oppose it but do feel that discussing it is a moot point. I would rather discuss how we can educate the no D public about the different types of diabetes and their causes and effects.

I would rather talk about how one can improve their Type 2 than to blame them for having it. I would rather coach him or her how to be healthy than to call them a fat person with no self control.

I would rather explain to someone what is different about Type 1 than to let the world keep thinking that what works for a T2 is going to work for a type 1.

People need to realize and we need to educate them that T1 is not a life style disease but they also need to realize that T2 isn't either. Lifestyle doesn't cause either but it can help or hinder its treatment. Neither type of D is without it's lifestyle issues.

Both types sometimes refuse to take ownership for their disease. There are T2s that refuse to take D serious but then again there are T1s that do the same.