The Highs & Lows of Type 1 Diabetes: Common Statements/Misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes That I Feel Compelled to Address

Monday, February 24, 2014

A semi weird picture of me but hey I have type 1 diabetes and this post is about that so it felt relevant.   

I have heard it all and nothing really surprises me anymore.  You can't really get mad at the people addressing the questions or statements because they are just simply uneducated with the world of type 1 diabetes and I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this kinda stuff.

The following are either questions or statements that people have actually really said to me.  I felt like it was important to clarify and address some of them.

1. "But you're not fat.  How you do have diabetes?"  I will never forget this question asked in high school by a boy a few grades older.
- Type 1 diabetics are not typically overweight.  In fact when I was diagnosed (at age 7) I had lost 10 pounds.  The media often portrays diabetics as being chubby little kids or overweight adults and that is because they are talking about type 2, which is different in terms of diagnosis and overall treatment.  Type 2 is a growing epidemic because of horrible diets and obesity.  Type 2 diabetes is actually preventable and reversable if diet and exercise are made a priority.  Type 1 diabetes is not something that is curable...as of right now.

2. "I've heard diabetics do not live a very long life."
-  I have heard that unhealthy people in general do not live a very long life.  So if you are type 1 diabetic and not making your health a priority then yes, the odds are not in your favor.  BUT if you are healthy and taking care of yourself and making your health a priority then you have an even better chance of living a full life just like anyone else.  So may the odds be ever in your favor :)

3. "I am worried that you might not have healthy children because you are type 1 diabetic."  Yes, this was really said to me by someone close.
- Type 1 diabetics do have a higher chance of miscarriages and complications BUT again if you make the health of you and your baby a full time priority for a full 9 months your odds of having a perfectly  healthy baby are just as good as any one else's.

4. "Your medical bills and insurance must be so expensive!"
- Yep they are there is no way of getting around that.  I am so thankful that I have a husband who makes me a priority and would do anything to make sure I have everything I need.

5. "Oh you're diabetic?! My Grandpa/Grandma had diabetes and lost their leg or went blind because of it!"
- Well thanks for that little story that I have heard a million times.  To be honest, if you have diabetes complications it does not just happen over night.  It takes years of neglect to get to that point.  Diabetes medical advancements have also come a long way since any grandma or grandpa had it so that is also a plus.

If you have ever had someone ask or say something to you that made you say, "What?!" I would love to hear.

See all the posts of this series here.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not diabetic but I always love reading thee posts!

juliann said...

I am so inspired by you and love that you are putting this all out there! I was diagnosed with type 1 at age 10 and can relate to everything you write about it!

I was actually once asked if T1D was contagious - could someone "catch" it from me?

please keep writing more of the highs and lows posts - love them!

Type 1 said...

Great post! I think it is very hard to categorized type 1 vs. type 2 and there are so many misconceptions out there. As someone who knows first hand the struggles of type 1 diabetes it is important for people to know the difference. It is highly uncommon that a "healthy" person has type 2 and type 2 IS curable with diet + exercise in almost all situations. I can only imagine all the possible "offended people" that will comment regarding type 2 diabetes on this post. To them I say, get over it! the fact is type 2 is almost always obtained through lifestyle and lack of healthy habits. It's fact's people!

Krissy McMomma said...

My favorite are the "at least"s - "at least it's not cancer" or "at least it's not terminal" or "at least she got it young so she won't know any different" and my all-time favorite, "at least it's not life-threatening" - hahahahaha. Oh, or the one time someone told me I could cure my child if I would just feed them a raw diet. That was pretty awesome.

Robyn said...

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard #1….it would pay for all of #4! LoL! Seriously though, there are so many misconceptions. I was diagnosed with T1 5 years ago, when I was 30. And people ask, "How could you be diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at 30? Wouldn't that be type 2?" (And they assume it's in my family (nope, i have a huge family and no one with either T1 or T2) and on and on.) Well, yes it's more rare to be diagnosed that late but it's becoming more common. People don't understand that's it's autoimmune and can affect anyone, regardless of age. So, I have educated a lot of people! :)

gadget said...

Type 2's aren't necessarily overweight either. I'm 5'10" and 125 lbs. and diabetic. At my heaviest, I was just under 150...

Rhiannon K. said...

I just wanted to thank you for your posts on life with diabetes. My niece was diagnosed two weeks ago at age 10 and I sent her mom your link right away. She was so thankful! This series couldn't have come at a better time for our family :)

Cindy M. said...

I was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 41 so yes it is becoming more common. When I told my friend that worked in a doctors office she proceeded to tell me of all her patience that went blind from diabetes. Wow, that sure made me feel better... NOT. I eat a mainly paleo diet and my blood sugars are in good control. Thank you for your blog and frank posts about diabetes. It helps me tremendously.

Anonymous said...

My grandma was a diabetic. She had 9 kids and she lived up to 82 y o. She had a diatebes for over 60 years i guess, used to work alot too. Non of us have a diabetes.

Anonymous said...

Yikes bold kinda harse statements. It is just as ignorent to say type 2's are obese and can be cured as it is to say any of the things u listed above. U should know better.

Anonymous said...

I have already sent you an e-mail but you are REALLY wrong about the type 2 thing

Ashton said...

Yes! I have heard so many of these (almost word for word) so very many times. But, like you said, I just try to do my best to educate people on the disease. Because there are so many misconceptions regarding Type 1. I actually have had more people make rude comments to me about my insulin pump because they assume I am wearing a pager. Those are definitely my favorite. ;)

Tiff Blais said...

Love this. In the midst of my 12 year-old niece being bullied by uneducated peers, this post was wonderful. It really is a complex disease and many people are ignorant to what it is all about, so kudos for posting this! You're such a strong, positive role model for younger girls dealing with T1. Thank you :)

Alexa said...

Lindsay I cannot believe some of the things that people have said to you. The unhealthy children comment is so bizarre. People sometimes say things without thinking I guess...but really truly it makes me wonder about them. Just for the record, you are correct about Type II as well. I guess you could argue that we as a country should change the way we approach eating habits and how the entire food industry is funded, but of course as an individual there are steps you can take to avoid/cure Type II. Not sure what that other commenter wrote to you, but it didn't sound like it was going to be nice. Take heart in another beautiful and honest post that I for one am always happy to read. You're one of my favorite bloggers. :)

Marilyn said...

Lindsay ~ Thanks again for another helpful post, full of needed information!! Keep it up!! As I have shared before, my grandchildren are Type 1. They are strong individuals and wise beyond their teen-age years. I'm looking forward to that cure or at least to that new difference that will make it possible for them not to have to constantly be looking over their shoulder, always having to anticipate that extreme high or extreme low (I could go on and on). You are an inspiration, thanks.

Maggie said...

Useful information aside, your hair looks amazing in that pic :)

Gastroparesis friendly living said...

I love your honesty and I adore your blog! This is a great post but the picture takes the cake. I absolutely LOVE your haircut!! It's such an adorable picture!

Sarah said...

I love these posts! Can relate to all of the above. I cringe every time someone asks me "can you eat that?".....especially people I've already explained it to! I've wished countless times that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were called by more different names. The characteristics are so different! It's too bad people gave you harsh comments about the stereotypes of type 2, any professional course I've taken on diabetes explains them in the same way you did, even though type 2s are not always obese and there can be a genetic factor and type 1s can be overweight and unhealthy. The tendencies that you pointed out are true.

There can be such a huge negative response when you say, "I'm diabetic", even though people mean well they don't realize the weight of their words. Kind of like when your pregnant and people think it's okay to say "OMG you are so huge." Pragmatics go out the window somehow!! Positive energy resonates with people so much longer. I can forget most of the negative things I've heard but I will never forget the positive ones. In high school I remember I had to leave one of my classes to have a snack in the hall (in order to not be a distraction or draw attention to myself). A peer approached me asking why I was eating in the hallway with somewhat of a judging look on her face. When I told her I had type 1 diabetes she immediately changed her tone and said "Oh THAT'S why you're so skinny, you must eat really healthy too". Those comments could've been just as inaccurate as negative ones, but I could have hugged her!! Saying and hearing nice things just lasts longer and spreads more joy. If only.....!!!!

Lieke said...

Oh my, people can be so ignorantly rude. Nowhere near your story I remember what people told me when I had severe pregnancy-complications and it was no fun to hear. But al together, when people mention the medical bills, I always smile polite and thank them for paying their insurance-costs and tell them It was great they helped me in that way to pay for my treatment.

Sara Brandon said...

Yikes ANONYMOUS! Bold harsh statements?! I don't think so. She is just telling the facts. And it is a fact that obese people are more at risk for Type 2 diabetes, a disease that is insulin resistant and can be cured. Unlike type 1 in which the pancreas doesn't produce ANY insulin. Thanks for this post Lindsie!! I am a fellow type 1 and I absolutely can't stand when I see things on Facebook about how type 1 can be cured with okra juice or some other special diet and exercise regimen. What a slap in the face to all type 1's out there

Anonymous said...

As a pre-diabetic type 2 I despise when otherwise intelligent people make comments like the ones you made regarding poor diets and weight. That is an ignorance of yours which you should address.

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

To the commenter above-- Type 2 Diabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes. Type 1 Diabetes can not. That is not an ignorant statement. That is a medical fact.

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