Have you Ever Denied Having Diabetes?

I am curious to know if anyone else has ever lied about being diabetic. I have generally not told people at work that I have T1. I work in a place where people are pretty introverted, so hiding it has never been that hard.

I always keep a container of glucotabs on my desk so I can find them if I go low. No one has ever asked about them. Anyway, maybe it was that or my eagerness to go eat lunch one day, but about a year or two ago, a coworker asked if I was diabetic. Granted, she asked me at a really inappropriate moment (in front of other people), so I just lied and said no, but my blood sugar got low sometimes. I left it at that and she never brought it up again.

I started working with someone else this year, and she noticed the glucotabs and asked if I was diabetic (in a far more appropriate setting when we were alone). At first, I was going to lie like I did in the past — but, for whatever reason, I didn’t. I actually told her the truth. Turns out her ex was diabetic (T1 I assume, based on her description) so she undertsands to some degree.

The thing is, I never realized how detrimental “hiding” my diabetes at work was to my health. Or maybe I did but I’ve been looking the other way. For example, I was always scared of going low so I let my BGs run a little high, even though this made my A1C not so great. I also sometimes didn’t make the best food choices at office parties (and would then sneak off afterwards to take some insulin to cover those indulgences).

This past year, I’ve been trying really hard to be better - I’m back on the pump, counting carbs (most of the time), and just generally trying to do the things I should be doing (like actually going to the doctors’ appointments I’ve been putting off). But this also means that I have to be a bit more honest at work. I’ve told maybe two other people, and I am sure more people know by now. It makes me feel a little weird.

So, how have others handled this? Do you tell? Do you not tell? How do you handle all the moments where D can potentially come up?

If you don’t volunteer the info that you are a Diabetic then that is not lying. But if someone asks you if you are a Diabetic and you say No, then it is a lie.

I honestly don’t recall answering No, when I was specifically asked if I was a Diabetic. Like by a Dr., Nurse or a Paramedic. “Normal” People have not asked me if I was a Diabetic.

Who cares if you lie about it or not. It’s no one’s business. I have denied it before because I don’t want people asking me about it (yes, at inappropriate times). And, of course, everyone has a horror story of someone they once knew who had it and is now dead or dealing with dreaded complications. And then there are the people who think they know what’s best for you. We are not under any obligation to answer personal health related questions to anyone who rudely has the nerve to ask.

Hello Mybustedpancreas:

Its absolutely nobody’s business but YOURS… whether you are a diabetic.

How’s your erectile dysfunction working out…!!!

You were asked an invasive and VERY personal question. If I don’t know you, I might not tell you. But I far more often prefer to mess with people I find obnoxious, intrusive.

Question: Are they twins…
Answer: Nope they’re actually 18 years apart…

Question: Are you shooting drugs…
Answer: Nope that’s tap water, I couldn’t find a glass anywhere around…

Question: Would you like to hear more about our product…
Answer: No, I’m sorry… I don’t have a phone (CLICK, hanging up)

Question: Are you interested in our life insurance product
Answer: Give me your home phone number, and we’ll talk about it a lot more!

Coworkers if I wanted you to know something about me I promise I will tell you. Personal information is a privilege. If your coworker had half a brain, knowing exactly what glucose tabs were… they should read between the lines! Medic alert cards, necklaces, etc. work very well when needed. I do not advertise but I won’t hide in a dirty bathroom either.


I don’t hide the fact that I am diabetic, but it is your choice whether or not to disclose the information. I would advise that your supervisor be made aware in case of a hypo that needs medical attention. Also it is handy to have filled out FMLA paperwork which would cover you if you are late due to being low before you head into work or miss a day due to a bad hypo. I work in a physical job around heavy equipment so for me it is better that people know as going low can mean injury to myself or coworkers damage to equipment and customer cargo. I also have found that my openness has been beneficial to other people with diabetes at work, mostly T-2s that are feeling a bit low asking for gluc tabs.

Its your choice, I choose to let it be known others don’t. Comments and questions I can handle I view it as a chance to educate someone or if I am in a snarky mood and it is an inappropriate comment I will an have made that person look and fell like an a$$. Do what is right for you. If you have been running high to avoid coming out of the sugar jar I would look at ways to lower you BS, or as much as I hate to do it since I hate going to the privy to test or inject make more runs to the bathroom if asked pull out a different cover story (IBS) and of course this goes back to letting you manager know since you are covered under the ADA.

Thanks all your replies. Very reassuring. I should note that the second coworker who asked me in an appropriate setting was very nice about it, and was asking more because she is (sort of) my supervisor and wanted to know if there was anything she could do to help. I did end up showing her where all my stuff is in my bag, mainly because I’ve had a couple of close calls at work with being low since trying to be better about my health.

I will say too that I have always been scared that my diabetes would get in the way of being promoted or given more responsibility. Granted, I RARELY take sick days (I never get things like colds or the flu) but I have always worried, in the back of my head, that someone would think that diabetes is a reason to not give me more responsibility or a higher position, even subconsciously.

Thank you so much. Your response made me laugh for at least 10 minutes. I like the one about the yeast infection. Too funny…

Laughter is a cure…!

(And glad you liked them!)


I am pretty open about it. I have a cubicle so it’s mostly out in the open. If I’m talking to somebody and my pump vibrates, I will shut it up (before it starts bleeping…) and I showed lots of people my DF “centerfold” from the April issue b/c it’s such a great pic of me! :slight_smile:

In general I don’t hide it. There’s no need to. If someone asks the question, I see no reason not to answer, particularly if the question is a result of a particular action (eating, displaying glucose tabs) – but if I know the person will be particularly invasive or bothersome, I’ll use terse one- or two-word answers, giving the impression that I really don’t want to talk about it.

The only time I would truly hide diabetes is during a job interview. Usually, my insulin pump is clipped to my belt, but during an interview I’ll try to put it in my pocket and hide the tube as best as I can. Although it’s not a legal reason (in the US), being diabetic could hurt one’s chances of getting a job because of the risk of higher insurance costs by the employer and a perceived higher risk of illness/absenteeism. Also, someone may mistake my pump for a cellphone or other device which is not appropriate to bring to an interview. That said, all-day interviews or lunch-interviews are really tough, and I’ve had both very high highs and very low lows during them!

I’ve never lied, but I don’t announce to every person I meet I have diabetes. But I made sure my next door neighbors know, just in case they find me laying in the yard one day. Those I work with on a regular basis know, again, just in case. I don’t hear people with other chronic conditions announcing their situation either. It is ok to keep an air of mystery about you.

It really is none of their business and if you were low and asked in a potentially embarassing place in front of others, any answer is acceptable - You might of tried an answer like: only on the third tuesday of the month - how bout you? But don’t worry about the denial - even Peter denied Christ 3 times.

Reputation is a product of performance. You are NOT your diabetes. Your work should stand on its own, not to mention a spotless attendance record. That is what promotion should be measured on. Heaven help the manager who even thinks about your diabetes as a condition that needs to be evaluated.
There is a difference between divulging your DM and not being honest about it when asked - whether or not it was an appropriate situation to ask or not - obviously the party asking didn’t feel it was inappropriate. Sometimes we have to step back, get off the defensive and consider the POV of the individual who is asking. You didn’t ask for DM, you didn’t do anything to cause or contribute to the disorder, so why are you cautious to admit that you have it. It is not like it is a little known, misunderstood condition. My god, it is one of the largest epidemics affecting children and adults throughout the WORLD. There will always be idiots who are truly ignorant of their misinformation - but that is just an opportunity to make them more well informed. Yes, there is always someone whose mother’s great aunt’s neighbor’s housekeeper lost a foot because of “the sugar”. - e all have to suffer the fools sometimes. However, that is no reason not to be honest about yourself.
Do you have to tell everyone - NO, not at all…but someone should know. You yourself said you keep your glucotabs on the desk so you know where they are when you go low. So maybe when you go low your mental faculties are not as sharp as when you are euglycemic? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that someone, other than yourself, will be able to recognize your emergency and be able to help you BEFORE you become unconscious? The average person does not know to look for medic-alert identity - especially if it is a necklace. That requires them to open your shirt. By the time that EMS is called AND arrives may be too late.

I dunno about a “spotless” attendance record? I have been @ the same place for 15 years and the # of people who take amazing amounts of time off has always astonished me.


When we assume that the other person was ignorant, we are as bad as they - Perhaps not ignorant but concerned. we don’t always need to think the worst of others - what goes around comes around.

Diabetes may not be a little known condition, but it is a seriously misunderstood condition, especially now because of all the press T2 gets. T1 and T2 are two completely different conditions. Almost everyone knows someone who has T2 and I’ve run into the issue of people erroneously assuming that the management of T1 is exactly the same. Well, obviously in most cases, it is not. While I generally don’t mind educating people, it can get really old after awhile.


Diabetes is a disease, a disorder of metabolism—the way our bodies use digested food for energy

Condition is a term to qualify what kind of shape you are in as per wikipedia:

Medical states or medical conditions are used to describe a patient’s condition in a hospital. These terms are most commonly used by the news media and are rarely used by doctors, who in their daily business prefer to deal with medical problems in greater detail.

Either or both of two aspects of the patient’s state may be reported. First, the patient’s current state may be reported, e.g., as being good or serious. Second, the patient’s short-term prognosis may be reported, e.g., that the patient is improving, is getting worse, or that no immediate change is expected (stable).

A wide range of terms are often used to describe a patient’s condition. The American Hospital Association advises doctors to use the following one-word conditions in describing a patient’s condition to those inquiring, including the media.

Undetermined Patient is awaiting physician and/or assessment. Good Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are excellent. Fair Vital signs are stable and within normal limits. Patient is conscious, but may be uncomfortable. Indicators are favorable. Serious Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable. Critical Vital signs are unstable and not within normal limits. Patient may be unconscious. Indicators are unfavorable.[1]

Other terms used include: grave condition, extremely critical condition, critical but stable condition, serious but stable condition, satisfactory condition, and others.

No never denied having Diabetes. I am of the belief that it is important to tell people that you work with that you have Diabetes. If you want to keep it private, at least let your boss/the nearest first aid officer know. Look its all very well keeping it to yourself, feeling the early symptoms of a hypo and correcting but what happens if you get past that and either start talking rubbish or laspe into a coma? I shoot up and test BG at my desk with all manner of people around and naturally get asked. I will tell them I’m a T1 and give them a bit of an education to boot.

That being said, D doesn’t make me who I am so its not like I introduce myself to someone saying “Hi, I’m Anthony and I’m a T1 D!” but if they ask I’m more than happy to tell.

I decided at this latest contract job to just BE MYSELF and to heck with everyone. I test my BG’s at my desk. I bolus at my desk. I hide nothing. If anyone asks, I say yes, I’m diabetic. I made one man turn green when he saw my pen with the needle in place, getting ready for action (I did turn away and inject discreetly, because I didn’t want him to faint on me.) It’s an experiment. So far, no one has said anything negative or weird (to my face), even though I’m pretty open about being insulin dependent and I fit ALL the stereotypes for a “naughty T2”: obese, gray hair, female, less than perfect diet, etc.

I think because of the fact that most people are really shocked to know there is anything wrong with me that no one has ever asked me was I a diabetic. Not to mention I alsways have a reason for why I need to do what I need to do, like I just like to eat healthy, etc…so either no one is curious or they just wonder but do not ask. I am a very private person so usually if I do something like show odd behavior because I am having a low then I know to say something. If I dont I get the stares and concern looks but no one ever asks me, I think diabetes is the last thing anyone expects for me to say I have…