Diabetes' civil war People with Type 1 diabetes, outnumbered and overshadowed by Type 2, fight for recognition, resources — and a new name for their disorder


This is an article from the yesterdays Chicago Tribune. Let me know what y’all think…I’d be interested.

I think it’s interesting. As it starts out you think it will be very one sided against type 2’s, but if you keep going there is a good explanation of both diseases and, more importantly, comments from people with both diseases. Obviously geared for a type 1 audience as the topic is a hotly debated issue.

Great article (though I’m a Type 1, so I may be biased). I thought it was fairly even-handed, and liked the message that lumping the types together does a disservice to everyone.

The article is ok, but it’s quite unfortunate that an article in the Chicago Tribune is still carrying outdated statistics like Type 2 is 90-95% of all diabetes when we now know that with the increasing recognition of adult onset Type 1’s (including LADA) it is probably more like 75-80%. Don’t major newspapers hire fact checkers??? I knew when I read the article they’d get that wrong.

I really didn’t like this article. :frowning: This kind of stuff hurts my feelings a lot… It’s like people waging war on us Type 2’s, merely because of people’s ignorance of Type 1 (not realizing they know shit about Type 2, as well…) Sigh.

That was really a bad article.

I resent the fact that so many Type 1’s have no clue as to what a Type 2 must do to stay in good control. Given that there are a lot of people who put no effort into their diabetes, or are too ignorant to do anything, still to be a Type 2 is not easier than Type 1, just different.

Being a Type Weird on a pump, I can see into both worlds – I test multiple times a day, and I have to count each carb as carefully as any Type 1; I’ve had hypos as low as 31 and 37, and I’ve had a diabetic coma that kept me hospitalizedfor 5 days (and then 3 weeks in a rehab center – mostly Alzheimer’s patients – it took that long to get my BGs stabilized on an archaic sliding scale insulin regimen which didn’t cover meals until I screamed and threw fits to get them to give me insulin before meals, and to test after and correct!).

But I can see the Type 2 dilemma as well – if your BGs are high after a meal, what do you do about it? Suppose it’s snowing and there’s already a foot of snow on the ground (as I look out my window), do you go for a walk? Do you do jumping jacks in your living room? Tight control is very difficult for a Type 2. Type 1’s CAN indulge in a carby treat and use a little more insulin to cover it, but that’s really a no-no for a Type 2.

A low carb diet helps many Type 2’s who can tolerate it, but Type 1’s don’t have to think about it except in terms of weight control.

And let’s not forget all the Type 2’s on insulin who must inject themselves daily, just like the Type 1’s.

Plus the stigma that is attached to having abdominal fat – as if you had any choice in where your body decides to deposit your fat!!

The other thing these judgmental Type 1’s (and I know not all Type 1’s are that way) don’t realize is that diabetes research doesn’t apply to ONLY one type or the other, but much of it crosses the lines and has applicability to both types.

Like I said, I’m Type Weird, and so my going out of control DID result in a life-threatening coma, just like a Type 1. I just wonder what would happen to those Type 2’s who do use medication – if they went off their medication, would they go into a coma as well?

I dunno – I prefer my Type Weird to either Type 1 OR Type 2, but I feel that diabetes is diabetes, no matter how you got it – we’re all individuals, and we all have our unique kinds of diabetes – but we’re all in it together.

Rant over!!

Natalie ._c-

-I think we squander a lot of time and energy playing to the “who has it worse” debate and worrying about names.
-The media will always choose the shortest version of a name–it’s about how much news fits, not necessarily precision.
-All types of diabetes are serious health problems with lifelong consequences (type 2 is never reversed completely).
-Not a single individual desires to become a person with diabetes (although we ARE smarter, kinder, more courageous, and better looking than your average person).
-We all face barriers to awareness, education, proper treatment, meds and supplies, and daily support and encouragement.
-Figuring out the multiple cures needed to truly cure ALL types of diabetes is expensive, complex, and underfunded.

I agree that the types have many similarities. But we can’t forget that they have many differences as well. And, like you, many do cross the boundaries of both types. I also agree that many Type 1’s misunderstand Type 2’s and vice versa.

Because of the misunderstandings and misconceptions that are so prevalent, I respectfully agree with the main idea of the article - that each type should have a different name. Yes, there will always be people who display symptoms of both, and no, creating two different names doesn’t really do anything for them. But most diabetics, I feel, could be better understood by both other diabetics, and the general public, if there were two different names for our conditions. Yes, we have similar symptomolgy, but the root causes are very different, and thus I think they should be recognized as two related, but ultimately different, diseases.

Me too Queen. I especially thought this line was completely misleading. "“Type 1’s clearly can feel like victims and say that Type 2’s could have prevented it,” Edelson said. “And to certain extent they could be right. It’s a disease of bad lifestyle. My Type 1’s work out fastidiously and watch their diet. If my Type 2’s did what my Type 1’s do, they’d probably cure themselves.”

bad lifestyle contributes to getting the disease. I’ll own that much of it. However, I still believe genetics play as much of a part as it does in T1’s.

He also uses “CURE”. I didn’t know they had found a “CURE” for any kind of diabetes. Only better ways of managing it.

Kelly said it perfectly. Wage a war on Diabetes not on each other.

Actually, genetics plays a larger role in Type 2 than it does in Type 1, but a lot of people don’t know this… and they choose to play it up as “bad lifestyle,” very exaggeratedly on the news. Quite frankly, I believe there is a higher incidence of Type 2, because gasp, people are having SEX, and reproducing… and spreading the genes more and more. :slight_smile: Simple as that.

And I agree with you… that that section particularly angered me. There is NO cure for Type 2 Diabetes… and honestly, I would NEVER accuse anyone of “not being able” to do this, or that, or the other. We ALL find our inner strength to deal with the challenges life presents us… Many could never low carb (by their own admission, no matter their Type), and I choose to low carb… We all do things that many seem impossible to others.

Anything that challenges ANYONE out of what they were, with potentially devastating life consequences if they don’t change, is hard and difficult… No matter the type, or the illness.

As for the name change… The name has been changed over and over, and it was previously “Juvenile Diabetes.” The ball is in OUR court, as Diabetics, to fight to educate, and fight ignorant organizations that spread miseducation and misinformation. If we change the name, and don’t change any of these people (Yes, even JDRF), we will never accomplish anything but a name change. Heck, I feel the opposite as the author. I feel that T1D benefits from being under the umbrella term of Diabetes, as far as research dollars are concerned… because SO much money comes from Type 2… I don’t think they could easily get this on their own.

It’s a big stigma war… People want to be angry, and they want to be angry that someone “could have prevented it,” or that someone is “fat” and they are “not,” and whatever… Ignoring SOOOOOO many things…

Bottom line, Type 2 Diabetes may be delayed, but not necessarily prevented, and which type we get is a luck of the draw, many times. An overweight person can get Type 1, and a thin person can get Type 2. Life just happens… and we need to just grow up.

For the most part I liked the article and agreed. The part about 6 things not to say to a diabetic was funny and true. It should mention that not all type2s are fat though. But I agree about a new name. They are different.

Well said Kelly! I couldn’t access the article so the only thing I know about it is the title, but that got my back up completely–there is no civil war going on here that I can see. Yes, sometimes there’s a little bit of bickering back and forth, but it’s the kind of misunderstandings that happen between siblings… not an all out battle like the title made it seem.

Frankly, if I am going to do battle against anyone, it’s with the ignorant media outlets that keep spreading the slanderous myth that diabetes is a product of laziness and gluttony. I see that crap everywhere and it drives me crazy. Used to be that I said “My son has an autoimmune disease, it has nothing to do with his diet or exercise habits,” but now I feel like I have to say more than that. There are plenty of thin athletic type 2s (and plenty more overweight, sedentary people who don’t have diabetes, including ME!) so it’s not enough to kick that myth in the fanny when it’s aimed at T1s. Every time I see that doctor on The Biggest Loser intoning about the contestants’ diabetes risk because of their weight, I just want to scream. Dude, do a DNA panel and insulin levels first, THEN tell me about their diabetes risk…

I resent the fact that it was basically just another type 2 bashing article. I’m sick and tired of hearing about how it’s all our fault we have diabetes and that all we have to do is diet and excercise our way into a cure. Trust me that’s not true. I don’t care how good the numbers are you’re still going to have diabetes. If diet and excersie were a cure, I would definetely be cured by now and I would not have to take all that insulin I take that apparrently type 1 diabetics don’t believe type 2’s ever have to take.
We need to stop this petty squabling and band together. The world doesn’t care what we call our disease. Their all content to think that as long as they don’t get fat that it will never happen to them and this article just reinforces that for them.

What John said.


Totally agree with you, Kari.
I don’t see any way that a name change could be a ‘bad’ thing. It will help T1s be more understood. It will help T2s be more understood. And it will help the general public realize that just a conditions causes some similar symptoms, they are not the same. :slight_smile:

I agree. I think the article does a good job at explaining the differences between the two similarly named diseases for the general public.

Okay, maybe off topic, but I’m interested!

I’m currently doing research on alternative and experiential forms of diabetes education. Being a 24-year D veteran myself, I like to think I’m fairly well-versed in all things D; however, this has me stuck.

I am looking to report some statistics on Diabetes through my research. Reading this post (and I’ve read similar “stats” before) I’m going to reach out and ask where these statistics come from. I think it is very important that I paint as ‘true’ of a picture as possible of Diabetes, yet the only stats I have found, report 90-95% of cases of Diabetes to be Type 2. I have sourced so far the International Diabetes Federation (2010), the National Institute of Health (2008), the JDRF (2010) and the Center for Disease Control (2010) and Health Canada (2010). Because I’m research Type 1 diabetes in young people, I am really only concerned with the 5-10% having Type 1 diabetes, but think it’s important to look at the other ‘side’ as well (the 90-95% stat).

Really, these statistics mean nothing to me in my every day life as a diabetic. It is, though, important to me that I consider the sources that report these alternate (75-80%) numbers.

Zoe, would you be able to provide me with some further information? (I’ve read an amazing amount of work regarding Type 1.5 and its prevalence, along with an amazing number of opinion pieces… I’m hoping for some more ‘fact’ though, as you alluded to above with regard to newspaper fact checkers…)


If you’re a Type 2, you definitely don’t want to read the responses to this article on Fark.com

I’ve never had type 2 diabetes. So I can’t really compare what is easier or harder.

Someone with type 2 diabetes has never had type 1. So he or she can’t really say what is easier or harder.

There are differences (and similarities) and I think that there are more differences that we don’t know enough about (and maybe more similarities like the fact that many type 2s have some degree of autoimmunity – so the types seem less black and white). One difference that is rarely brought up is that Type 1s are missing three hormones (insulin, c-peptide, amylin). Apparently, I can survive without c-peptide and amylin, but these things protect my nerves and heart and I don’t have them. We figured out that we don’t last long without insulin, but I would be happy to have some c-peptide (which is not yet available) and amylin (which is now available via Symlin).