Sunday, January 15, 2006


I first want to make it abundantly clear that this site is devoted to people with Type 1 Diabetes. There is a huge difference between Type 1 Diabetes and (the other illness, which should be called and is called in some small Medical circles, Insulin Resistance Disease). As "We" all know, Type 1 Diabetes has a different etiology, different prognosis, different complications although the "other illness" does share in some of the same complications, different methods of treatment. In this too, the only similarity is the taking of insulin. There are many other "Differences", such as motivation and identity with the illness. People with Type 1 Diabetes are usually more motivated and more fine tuned in identifying the illness as an addition to many other things that make up "who they are". This is not political correctness, but common sense. It is unfortunate that the vast amount of people within the Medical Community have not yet made that distinction. Go to any hospital in any city and you will hear people with Diabetes referred to as "The Diabetic". Not only are they in error in doing this(people are more than their illness), but they are usually referring to the other illness (Insulin Resistance Disease aka Type 2 Diabetes). To respect ourselves, NEVER refer to who we are by our Illness(Diabetic), Whenever anyone in the Healthcare community calls us "Diabetic", we should correct them by saying, "I HAVE DIABETES, I AM NOT A DIABETIC", If they do not understand this, it is time to look for a new Healthcare Provider. Remember, that you are your own best Doctor when it comes to taking care of your Diabetes. Who knows your Body/Mind better than you?


Ellen said...

While I fully respect your opinion, I have a different view of type 2 diabetes.

My now 18 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, 17 years ago.

I also have proactive friends with type 2 diabetes and am worried about my own propensity for developing type 2. The prognosis and complications are very similar. The main difference is the minute to minute life choices those with type 1 have to make. There are many with type 2 who are intelligent and accutely aware of the desructive nature of type 2 and work very hard day to day to manage this chronic illness.

There are many people with type 1 who ignore their diabetes and simply take the insulin without knowing bg, without checking bg, without giving thought to consequences. Not all with type 1 are as motivated as you may believe. Not all are supported well by friends and family either and burnout is obviously difficult.

There are persons with type 2 who obsess about their bg, check many times per day, contemplate how each meal will affect bg, what pills/insulin to take yada yada yada. And if you think it's easy estimating how a pill will handle your blood sugar with a meal, you may be quite mistaken. There's no pill:carb ratio (not that insulin:car ratio always works for type 1 either).

I don't think it's fair to minimize type 2. It's an equally destructive disease that follows a similar path as type 1 and eventually leads to beta cell failure - but perhaps gives the person more time to make mistakes. Many don't even know they have type 2 until complications begin to set in.

Further, many doctors of patients with type 2 are at fault for not encouraging those with type 2 to start on insulin earlier and achieve tighter glucose control.

It's unfortunate that the medical community at large knows little or nothing about either type of diabetes...except for the misinformation in the news.

Btw, I do not use the word "diabetic" either.

Ellen said...

Sorry about all those spelling mistakes. I'll pour myself a cup of coffee now :-).

BetterCell said...

Thank you Ellen for sharing that with me. I also developed Type 1 Diabetes as an infant at the age of 6. Because of what I had seen in and out of hospitals as well as having worked in hospitals myself leads me to this conclusion. I do agree that the complications are awful in both types of Diabetes, however, I really feel that there is more leeway and flexibility in the course and management of "Insulin Resistance Disease". We both, I am sure agree on many things rather than disagree. One particular thing that we can agree on is the difficulty in finding "good and knowledgeable physicians" who really know and like what they are doing as well as in having "time" for their patients. I look forward to more comments from you.

Allison said...

I use the word "diabetic" to describe myself, and I don't correct people who call me that.

In my personal opinion (and this is just how I view the word), it is the same as saying "Christian" or "brunette" or "female." I am not "the one who believes in Christ" or "the one with brown hair" or "the one with ovaries." To me, those are all very cumbersome ways of saying something that could easily be summed up in one word. I don't know why diabetes has the priviledge (or perhaps curse) of not only being a noun but also being an adjective, but there you have it. An adjective to describe my condition. How convenient. Of course, only an idiot would relegate me to one adjective. I'm not simply a "brunette" or a "Christian," but that doesn't mean these adjectives are any less meaningful or useful. Diabetes, considering how much effect it has in my life and the role that it plays in my decision-making, has an enormous impact on "who I am" and I think it would be naive to think you can just box up diabetes and throw it in a corner.

That said, being a diabetes advocate and speaking, relating and dealing with thousands of "diabetics" each year, I appreciate the fact that not everyone likes this label. Therefore, in almost all of my writing, I use the term "people with diabetes." Sometimes I slip up and sometimes on my personal blog I just say diabetic.

I feel that we use thousands of labels to describe ourselves, and that the reason diabetic is such a negative one is because of the negative connotation it has.

We could debate til we're blue in the face about which one of us is "right" or whatever, but mostly it's personal choice and the point of my post is to say that, well, not everyone has the same feelings as you. But you are more than welcome to have them. :-)

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New York, New York, United States
I do not give up my Autonomy,especially to the Medical Profession. Passionate, Creative, Able to see Beauty within Simplicity, I Am Not A Diabetic, rather I have Diabetes (there is a big difference between the two on many levels).Type 1 Diabetes since 5 years of age. Belief in G-D