According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, nearly 3 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. Being a type 1 diabetic for 8 years, I understand that there is confusion with the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Here are the 9 things type 1’s are, honestly, tired of hearing.
1. “But you’re not fat..”
Thanks for the compliment, I guess. The common misconception with diabetes is that people are only familiar with type 2. Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) is when your pancreas does not produce any insulin. Diagnoses are common in children and can occur because of their genetics or getting a common virus. Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) occurs for many reasons; lack of exercise, poor diet, genetics, etc. What happens to the body is that the pancreas produces less insulin than normal, causing blood sugar levels to rise. So no, I do not have the Wilford Brimley kind and no, I do not pronounce it “dia-bee-TUS” either.
2. “Is that a beeper?”
What is this, the 90’s? That is most likely an insulin pump you are looking at. Type 1’s are insulin dependent, meaning that they need to inject themselves with syringes or use an insulin pump. Insulin pumps are always connected by a tube to the diabetic’s body. There is a little insulin cartridge inside that constantly pumps insulin into you. You can also enter in the amount of carbohydrates in a meal and the pump will calculate how many units you need to take.
3. “Can you eat that?”
Yes. I can eat anything. Since I am insulin dependent, I am able to eat (though I really shouldn’t) whatever I want to. As long as I give myself enough insulin to cover the carbs, I am set.
4. “The first time I saw you take a shot, I thought you were doing drugs.”
So glad you were so quick to judge me. Diabetics take their shots on the outside of the upper arm, legs, stomach, back or butt (if you’re up for it).
5. “Is your blood sugar low?”
This is the equivalent of asking a woman if she is on her period. Stay away from this question. Though symptoms can vary from person to person, some signs of a low blood sugar are: sweating, shaking, extreme hunger, dizziness, slight nausea, blurred vision and a fast heartbeat. When someone’s sugar is low, make sure they have sugar immediately. It is always best to have some protein as well, to keep your blood sugar from dropping again.
6. “I know someone with diabetes, they lost their toe.”
That is reassuring…thank you for the reminder about the many complications that come with this disease. If untreated, diabetes can cause many complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin and mouth conditions and pregnancy complications.
7. “I’m probably going to get diabetes, I eat so badly.”
Please tell me more about how you’re willingly accepting the fact that you might get a disease that I didn’t have a choice in.
8. “I don’t know how you can give yourself shots every day. I wouldn’t be able to do it, I would die.”
Well I would literally die.. So there’s that.
9. “You know you can cure it with diet and exercise.”
Don’t you think I would live on a treadmill if that were the case? Type 1 diabetes has no cure, it is only manageable. There are cases in type 2’s where if they did begin a healthier lifestyle after they are diagnosed that the pancreas will start producing more insulin.