Diabetic vs. PWD (Person with Diabetes)

And now on to the issue of political correctness. Many people feel that they shouldn't be referred to as if they themselves were an illness. The classic example is "If a person has hemorrhoids, do you call them a hemorrhoidic?" Of course it's not always appropriate to refer to people by their ailments, but I find this comparison a little over the top.

Some say they just don't like a label they didn't choose, but rather was forced upon them by the medical profession and public at large. For this reason, I suppose, the ADA and the JDRF take great care to say "person (or child) with diabetes," rather than using the "-ic" term.

Author Kassie Palmer writes: "If I call myself by my disease, how can I expect people to see beyond it?" On the other hand, she notes that she had her best control during the few periods in her life when she considered herself "diabetic" – like during pregnancy, when tight control was crucial. So, concentrate on it, and you might succeed. Go figure.

Now I personally am much more in line with one of my blog readers, who recently wrote: "I have been so adamant about not letting this disease define me. Why? Something has to define who you are, why not diabetes? Because of it I have quit smoking, I exercise everyday, I look at what ingredients are in things, and I really care about my body. Being a diabetic doesn't make me weak or alone or solitary, it will make me stronger."

Right on! My feeling is, a label should only bother us if it's truly a negative, derogatory term. Heck, I didn't choose "Caucasian" or "anemic" either, I just am. I consider the term "diabetic" as neutral as those, yet diabetes defines my life much more intensely than any of those things. So call me "a diabetic" if you wish. Rather than combating terms, I'm saving my energy for my diabetes control effort.

Read more about Amy Tenderich.

dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

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Last Modified Date: May 24, 2013

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