Emily Post for Type 1 Diabetes
Anna Albritton, MS, RD, LD
With November being Diabetes Awareness Month across the nation, much of the focus is around individuals with type 2 diabetes. After all, only 5-10% of individuals with diabetes have type 1, yet these two types of diabetes are—as we all know—drastically different. By now, you’ve surely heard the following questions or statements plenty of times and have a formulated response to each. “Why are you eating that? It’s not sugar-free.” “You have type 1? Isn’t that the bad one?” “If you exercised and ate better, I bet you could come off of insulin.” These comments, amidst many others, can often make one feel as though they are the subject of a game of “20 Questions.” According to Dr. Susan Guzman, psychologist and co-founder of Behavioral Diabetes Institute, individuals with type 1 diabetes feel more stigmatized than do those with type 2 diabetes. Not those with type 2?! As surprising as it may seem, she attributes this to that fact that individuals with type 1 often have more visible identifiers, and the more visible and intensive one’s therapy, the greater the likelihood for stigma.
While you’ve likely come up with your own repertoire of “polite” responses to these outlandish comments, it’s also important that others close to you are equipped with enough information to help you should ever need it. Having these individuals know what signs and symptoms are associated with hypoglycemia and what to do should you become unconscious are two crucial skills that could be lifesaving in an emergency.
Often “taking the high road,” by realizing that many individuals see diabetes as being the same no matter what form, can be your best bet. Smile and overlook their ignorance—and accept the fact that some people just won’t ever understand how you got type 1 diabetes, what it actually is, and that you can eat all things in moderation.
Click on the link below for a humorous account of the confusion that surrounds type 1 versus type 2 diabetes written by Peg Abernathy from The Huffington Post Blog.
Sources used: DiaTribe, Behavioral Institute for Diabetes