Diabetes Chronic Illness or Chronic Condition?

Part of the social stigma of Diabetes I think comes from misuse of the term Illness. It has recently dawned on me how much I hate the term Illness, diabetes is not the flu, it is not an Illness. I do not see myself as ill, I see myself as having a condition. Does Diabetes make life harder yes but we are not sick.We are healthy people who run marathons, compete in triathlons, play professional sports, work our butts off and LIVE life. We are challenged yes but not sick.

So do you think of yourself as having a Chronic Illness, or just a Condition. It may only be words but words have power.

I definitely like the term “condition” better, but at the end of the day, whatever it’s called, my pancreas is still a lazy little s*%t. I too hate it when people think I’m “ill” or “sick” because I have diabetes. It’s made me very reluctant to tell people I’m diabetic. That and the whole having to explain the difference between T1 and T2 and how, no, changing my diet will not “cure” me of my T1 diabetes. Grrrrrr.

I’ve seen it written up as a disorder, a condition or a disease.

disease /dis·ease/ (dĭ-zēz´) any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown. See also entries under syndrome.

To me it is a chronic condition or chronic disease.

I just saw a little Boy on the news, giving all his money for a fund-raiser here for MS which is also an autoimmune disease. He called MS a disease.

We’ve all got a condition–the human condition. Stemming from the fact that life is, invariably, fatal. :slight_smile:
I think a “disease” is something that impairs your functioning. If you are able to accommodate, then you are just another definitionally imperfect human.

I’ll go with “condition”. I don’t really think of myself as sick in anyway. Now when I have a cold…That’s a whole other story…LOL!

Hey All:

Sorry to burst your little bubble of playing the semantics game … BUT, in medical circles, I have heard it referred to as a … DISEASE.



I am going to say chronic condition! When you say illness or disease it makes it like something someone can catch.

Bah semantics mean alot. I know people who are wheelchair bound that refuse to be considered disabled or handicapped, they consider themselves challenged. It comes down to a mindset. If you wish to consider yourself diseased so be it.

Semantics does play alot when it comes to outlook. Do you look at aging as getting old and feeble or do you look at aging as becoming wiser and a time to reflect on the joys of life. One positive one negative, both can apply but how you look at aging can greatly affect how you do age.

As a side note I would ask that instead of playing Debbie Downer, that you stay on topic and most of all play nice. Tone like semantics does mean something.

Hey Lois That’s medical circles…We all know about them…I’m just saying they didn’t ask ME what I wanted it called! LOL!

They never ask us anything…lol


Speaking of tone, I really resent your tone. Just sending the truth doesn’t hurt. You’re right, though, what you do with the designation of “disabled or handicapped” is altogether a matter of attitude. As for me and aging … if I am feeling old and decrepit, then I guess that’s my personal daffynition of aging. Old age doesn’t have to come and get me at 80, it got me at 57!!! lol


Well, if you know the medical circle, then you know you have to be very specific and simple when talking with them!! They don’t speak humanese! lol some more


Very good slant on that one. Of course, there are some people out there that I wouldn’t mind “infecting” since they don’t seem to have any sense of undestanding when they make their judgments of people.


I had a really nice doctor once, who was the worst doctor I ever had nearly killing me and all but she was so sweet. I was having a moment during a visit and she said to me that I do not have a disease that I have a condition to make me feel better. It worked. I think it worked because there are so many negative connotations with the word disease that not claiming it feels better. I have moved beyond it now. One day I was thinking why saying the word disease really made me cringe and I analyzed it of course as I do everything and I realized I was linking the word to all negative. Well I do not look sick, I am not disabled and I can live a quality of life so I stop thinking of the words disease or illness as only something negative. I dont care what other people’s meaning of the words either. I know who I am…Honestly I really just say I am a diabetic or I have diabetes I dont even mention the other words but I do recognize that all can be used to describe what I have. Plus just saying I have T1 diabetes usually gets me the “Oh I am so sorry/ You dont look sick” response anyways so to me it doesnt really matter…

Words do have power but what gives them the power is the meaning and connotations, change them and you change the power…

If I offended I do apologize. I have heard medical personal use diseaetse, disorder, condition even a symptom (something caused my immune system to go haywire killing my pancreas making me t-1. Therefore diabetes is a symptom of what ever caused my immune system to go crazy). This site is full of people who know the truth about diabetes, the discussion was basically asking if you view yourself as sick or just living with a challenge, that I and others find a mixed blessing.

I’m fine calling it an illness or disease and I hate political correctness.

Why is it a disease? Because I stay alive by injecting a drug. Withhold the drug for a few weeks and I’ll be dead. That makes it more than a condition as far as I’m concerned.

That doesn’t mean I can’t do all the things you mention, but it makes all the things you mention more challenging.

You just said it all. That’s the way I feel too! THANK YOU!!!

Believe me; if anyone has the right to call themselves sick, it is me!!! I say that because I’ve spent the last 2 plus years in and out of hospitals and the last 1-1/2 years in a rehab center being sick. I guess I DO know the definition of sick.


“Just dropped in to see what condition my condition is in…” Diabetes isn’t an illness to me. I have a chronic disease.