To Tell, or Not To Tell?

When disclosing your diabetes, deciding who will know is as vital as deciding who will not.


Mike was excited about his date. He looked great, splashed on some cologne, and was on his way. He was meeting Susan, a blind date he had met on the Internet. When he arrived at the restaurant, he was thrilled to see that Susan surpassed his expectations – she was stunning. They went inside, ordered a few drinks and began to enjoy a great conversation.

Their food was delayed, but Mike didn't care. He continued to talk with Susan, totally engrossed in all that she had to say. And then he woke up. It was dark out and Mike found himself tangled in the bushes outside of the eatery. His shirt was torn, wallet was gone, and watch and cell phone were missing. What had happened?

He pieced the evening back together with the help of the bartender inside. The blood sugar lowering effect of the alcohol, combined with the delayed meal, had sent his glucose levels spiraling downward. Mike hadn't mentioned his diabetes to Susan, since they had just met, but he was also not wearing a medical I.D. bracelet that could have provided a possible cause for his behavior.

When Mike's hypoglycemia caused him to suddenly act intoxicated and aggressive, Susan had no idea that there might be a medical issue. She became frightened and asked a gentleman at the bar to help protect her. The man threw Mike out then left with Susan. Mike called to explain, but Susan wanted no part of him or his diabetes.

Who Do You Tell…and Who Don't You Tell?

Whom should you tell about your diabetes? Here are several people who may need to know:

  • Someone who can help you with your diabetes care.
  • One who can offer you emotional support.
  • Anyone who needs to know your medical status, such as a scuba instructor, personal trainer, or health professional.
  • Your employer – especially if you require a flexible schedule and time off for medical appointments.
  • Co-workers.
  • Someone with whom you share an intimate relationship.
  • A roommate.
  • Your workout buddies.

Who does NOT need to know?

  • Someone who will nag you.
  • A person who will make fun of the health decisions you make.
  • A person you hardly know.
  • One who may gossip about you.
  • Anyone who won't support you and will tempt you with foods you wish to avoid.

    You don't have to share your diabetes with everyone, but you must be prepared for emergencies, especially when you plan on being around people who don't know. Many individuals with diabetes don't wear medical identification. They may keep a card in their wallet or purse, but those items aren't always close by. Fortunately, a variety of medical alert bracelets, ranging from gold and silver to Velcro and gemstone, are now available.

    Mike is sorry that he wasn't more attentive to his eating needs that evening. And he regrets not wearing medical identification, which would have alerted those nearby to help him. He has also decided to stop meeting women on the Internet… but that is another story.

Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: June 20, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

More On This Topic

No items are associated with this tag

dLife Weekly Poll

Do you have all the doctors you need on your diabetes care team?

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
435 Views 0 comments
by Lindsey Guerin
I am in desperate need of a nap. Between frequent bathroom trips and constant tossing and turning overnight, my sleep has dwindled. But what do you expect at almost 33 weeks pregnant? My whole body is tired these days though. Two weeks ago, a mix of severe lightheadedness and some weird blood pressure readings at home had my doctor send me to Labor & Delivery for a couple of hours of observation. My blood pressure was fine while at the hospital and I haven’t been checking as...

dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by

Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).

Donna Rice
Donna Rice

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).

  • Watch dLifeTV online now!

    Click here for more info