PSA: Think Before You Speak

Written by Kristi Caporoso

This is something we were all taught as children, right? Or was it just me?

I typically aim to be an understanding person; someone who is patient and gives people the benefit of the doubt. But lately I've encountered a string of comments regarding diabetes that the more I think about, the more angry I get.  Whether this is because they seem to be coming at me like rapid fire, or because I am so caught off guard at how inconsiderate they are, I am not sure.  What I am sure of is this: we have feelings. We get offended. And we are pissed off. So listen up.

Type 1 vs. Type 2: THERE IS A DIFFERENCE

Of all the ignorant comments that I hear, I would have to say that 90% of them can be traced back to confusion regarding type 1 and type 2 diabetes. "Aren't you not supposed to eat that?" "But you're not fat!" "Eat all this sugar and you will get diabetes. Ha!" Let me try to explain it in the simplest terms possible. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that an individual has NO CONTROL over getting. People with type 1 diabetes can eat anything they please, as long as they give the proper amount of insulin for it. As a matter of fact, we need sugar sometimes to save our lives. Now this doesn't mean I'm promoting eating garbage all the time because we can. No one should eat an entire carton of donuts, whether they have diabetes or not. But if we are having a bad week, we just might. Because we can.

In regards to diet, yes diet can affect one's likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. However, keep in mind that diet is one of many factors; including genetics, weight, and lifestyle. Again, having a bad week and binge eating a carton of donuts one time does not mean you will wake up the next day with type 1 OR type 2 diabetes.

In regards to weight, yes being overweight can impact your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as well. But again, this is one of many factors.  Being overweight has NOTHING to do with type 1 diabetes. It does not cause it, and in turn type 1 diabetes does not cause being overweight.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

If you are not fully educated about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, then I would suggest educating yourself--ASAP. But if you don't want to do that, hey, that's fine--just don't blabber on and on about it if you refuse to learn the facts.

And maybe you are educated about diabetes. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have to think before you speak. For example. If you know all about diabetes and the negative complications that can (but don't always) happen, there is no need to rub them in our face.  I can't count the number of people who have announced in front of me that "diabetics' bodies will be worn down by middle adulthood" or "my uncle lost both his legs from diabetes" or something along those lines. Now what I'm wondering is why on earth someone would find it necessary to share these things with a person who has diabetes. Because newsflash: WE ARE AWARE. We are taught what the consequences are if we do not take care of ourselves. We live with that in the back of our minds every day. So there is no need for you to bring it up again, thank you.

 

That being said, I hope you all learn something from reading this article. I hope you are considerate when you speak about a chronic illness in front of someone with that chronic illness. I hope you take time to learn the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, especially if you are someone who frequently speaks on the matter. And I hope, above all, you are kind. Just because someone does have type 2 diabetes and did play a factor in their developing it by not having a healthy lifestyle, doesn't mean they deserve to be ridiculed.