Diabetes Ignorance 101


A good friend of mine, who has type-1 diabetes, recently posted this picture on her facebook wall. Of course I just sort of shook my head in response that someone would then post the below comment to it on facebook. The people who are educated about diabetes can’t believe the level of people’s ignorance. People who haven’t been “properly” educated about the disease do ask these types of questions and/or make ignorant comments to people living with type-1 and type-2 diabetes. I can only speak from personal experience in the arena of type-1.

Most people who read my blog are pretty familiar that there is a difference between type-1 and type-2, but if people aren’t I would like to share the quick differences. I took the quoted information straight from the American Diabetes Association’s website diabetes.org.

“Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply, diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Type – 1  diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. 

Type- 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African AmericansLatinos,Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.”

Just because I’m well versed in diabetes knowledge, I do not believe that I have that same knowledge for other conditions (far from it!). My cousin has down syndrome, and because I know of people putting stereotypes on diabetes that have hurt me in the past, I ask questions if I’m not sure instead of make statements to my aunt, uncle, or cousins. To me the learning lesson in all of this is showing compassion to people. The truth is, for the most part, we don’t know what someone else has had to walk through. And let’s be clear, I’m no angel. I have had several days in my life were someone has said something very rude and ignorant to me and without even thinking I give a snarky response back. In my clear mind I know that instead of getting worked up, I need to channel that energy in helping educate that person about the truths of diabetes. Will you join me in telling, writing, whatever creative avenue that you have….to tell YOUR DIABETES STORY!?! This is what will help change the perception of this disease.