Innocent Type 1s? How divisive!

are-you-an-angel-or-a-devilI found an article yesterday. You might already have seen it by now. It’s entitled, “Call for healthy eating and exercise on World Diabetes Day neglects innocent Type 1 patients“.

I hate, actually hate, that title. “Innocent Type 1 patients” says what about people living with Type 2 diabetes? That they are not innocent it can only be assumed.

This awful article, published in the Inquisitr, and penned by Dawn Papple goes on to say,

Type 1 diabetics are innocent sufferers of an autoimmune condition. These patients haven’t necessarily eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise.

True on the one hand. The problem being that on the other Ms Papple alludes that people living with Type 2 diabetes are guilty sufferers? Guilty of having eaten too much sugar or failed to exercise?

Well I am writing today to inform Ms Papple, and anyone who has applauded her article, that not everyone with Type 2 diabetes has overindulged in sugar or sloth either. Whether through ignorance or intention she fails to show any understanding of Type 2 diabetes, or to represent Type 2 patients with the same consideration she demands for people living with Type 1 diabetes. Her article laments the lack of understanding about Type 1 diabetes, whilst showcasing her own acute lack of understanding of Type 2 diabetes!

She writes:

Many people have come to associate diabetes with obesity, but as this new campaign shows, people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 1 diabetes.

Well here’s the shocking truth – people who appear physically fit can be fighting for their lives against Type 2 diabetes!

Research shows there is a genetic aspect to Type 2 as well as Type 1. Like it or not, research shows there are some food links with Type 1 as well as Type 2. Research also shows that it’s such a common phenomenon for older people with Type 2 to be lean (estimates suggest 20%) that another recent article proposes a new label – Type 4 diabetes. One of my own clients is a lady, aged 61 years and weighing just 55kg, or 120lbs, or about 8 and a half stones – HbA1c 45 and heading north in consecutive tests! Not yet diabetic, but on her way. On her innocent way!

Furthermore, a new test is being developed to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes at the point of diagnosis – precisely because the boundaries between the two are not so clear cut!

All this highlights is the uselessness of labels. Type 1 and Type 2 and, potentially, Type 4 are all man-made constructs of language. They should not be used divisively, discriminatingly, or to the detriment of anyone with diabetes.

Mahatma Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. May I suggest that if you want understanding and compassion for yourself, it would be appropriate to first show those same considerations to others?

I am thoroughly sick and tired of “diabetism”. Sick of any notion of innocent Type 1 v. self-imposed Type 2. The issues of pathogenesis are far more complex than this – for all types of diabetes.

At the start of November, I called for all people affected by diabetes to #standtogether. As we approach the end of International Diabetes Awareness Month 2015, I am again asking for ALL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY DIABETES TO #STANDTOGETHER!

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