Diabetic or Person with Diabetes

People with Diabetes


When it comes to name-calling, dealing with diabetes can be a tricky topic. Some people prefer the brevity of diabetic, while others would rather be a person with. The dLife Viewpoints columnists tackle the age-old question, Are you a person with diabetes or a diabetic?

Karen 1I actually see no difference between calling someone a person with diabetes or a diabetic. To me, to make an issue over what you call someone with the disease, you take the focus off the disease itself. I realize that there are some people who are offended by being called a diabetic, but to me the much larger issue is that the people around you know about your medical condition and what to do for you if you ever need help.
Karen Hargrave-Nykaza, mother of a child with Type 1, author of A New Normal.

Kerri_Morrone1Whether diabetic or person with diabetes, I'm still harboring a wounded pancreas. Adding a suffix or a prepositional phrase doesn't change my A1c or affect my basal rates. I cant say I care either way, but I am sensitive to the preferences of others. For me, diabetic is just fine.
Kerri Morrone, Type 1, author of Generation D.

ScottI don't take offense when someone uses diabetic, but when speaking about myself I usually say that I have diabetes or I live with diabetes.
Scott K. Johnson, Type 1, author of Which Way is Down.

TomHeadshotBeing a parent and not having diabetes myself I will defer this answer to my buddy Jim Turner who tackled this issue on dLifeTV, he said Im a diabetic personwith diabetes.
Tom Karlya, father of a child with Type 1, author of Diabetes Dad.

RachelPerhaps it is the grammar freak who rides her bike around my brain, but I see the word diabetic as an adjective, not a noun. A person has diabetes or is with diabetes, but is not a diabetic.
Rachel Baumgartel, Type 2, author of Dueling Diabetes.

amy_tenderich"A writer, a mother, a brunette, a diabetic all these terms describe me. And I dont take offense to any of them, because to me, none of them are derogatory. I realize that the diabetes community is pretty much split down the middle on whether to insist on being called a 'person with diabetes' rather than 'a diabetic.' My personal feeling is, a label should only bother us if its truly disparaging."
Amy Tenderich, Type 1, author of Straight Up.

Christel MarchandI believe that I am a person who has diabetes who will someday be able to say that I am a person who HAD diabetes . In my opinion, it's all semantics, but it is a strong personal perception within each of us on how we view ourselves. When I talk with people, I tell them that I am a diabetic, but only for brevity's sake. I am much more than a person with a chronic illness, and choose to live my life not being defined by a single term.

Christel Marchand, Type 1, author of Been There, Done That.

WaltDiabetic is a perfectly good adjective (diabetic supplies) and a reasonably decent noun (Walt is a diabetic.) I see no reason to banish it from the language in everyday conversation. Person with diabetes, although I'm sure its advocates have the best of intentions, smacks of the kind of gooey, patronizing political correctness in speech and writing that I actually find quite exhausting and exasperating. (Oh, you're a person first and that's very important... why not pat me on the head while you're at it?)

Please, I am not an infant and my feelings are not so tender that you must walk on eggshells and take care to describe me in the most calculatedly least-offensive terms that you can possibly muster. I'm much more concerned about how you treat me, knowing that I am managing a medical condition, than the language you use to convey that I'm managing a medical condition.
Walt Raleigh, Type 2, author of Type 2 Curmudgeon.

DeannaDiabetic and person with diabetes mean the same thing. If you don't believe me, look it up in Webster's. Referring to someone as diabetic doesn't mean they are defined by the disease or don't have many other human traits. As a writer and editor, I prefer to use language sparingly but effectively, so that means diabetic wins out for its brevity. And no matter the language someone uses to address me or others with diabetes, we will still have diabetes.
Deanna Glick, type 1, author of Mommy Meter.

Melissa_StopplerThe person before the disease following this maxim, it is most correct to speak of a person with diabetes, rather than a diabetic. As a health writer and educator, I try to maintain this politically-correct usage. On the other hand, Im never offended when someone makes an offhand remark about my being a diabetic. The term has become entrenched in popular jargon, and it is hard for me to ascribe any malicious intent to those who call us diabetics.
Melissa Conrad Stppler, type 2, author of Balancing Act.

Last Modified Date: February 19, 2013

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