A Type 2 Bias
Commiting to educating the public, regardless of type.
By Travis Grubbs
March 2008 — I was viewing a video at TuDiabetes.com where I read the statement "Type 2 diabetes can go away with diet and exercise. There is no cure for type 1." I sat and stared at my computer screen, asking myself: "Did I miss a recent medical break through?" "Should I be offended at this piece of misinformation?"
Being a type 2, I am well aware that diet and exercise can control type 2 diabetes, but they will not cause it to go away. I am also aware that there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. What bothered me the most was that this video was produced by some one with type 1 diabetes, and that it had received great reviews from other people with type 1 that had viewed it. Not one of the reviews noted the error regarding type 2 diabetes.
I believe the video was meant to emphasize the person's struggle with their disease, and they did an excellent job. But as a type 2, I believe that they exhibited an attitude held by some (possibly many) members of the type 1 community, one that may be shared by society at large. The stereotype is this: Type 2 diabetes is a fat person's condition. If folks with type 2 diabetes would have just gotten off their butts, ate less, and lost some weight, they would not have gotten type 2 diabetes.
I have observed people with type 1, posting on various forums, that seem to be compelled to emphasize that they have type 1 diabetes and not type 2 diabetes. I have also read postings insinuating that people with type 2 to blame for their condition. While I was over weight when I was diagnosed with type 2, my doctor was quick to point out that my family history also contributed to my condition. A few weeks ago, a member of my church told me that his twenty-year-old son was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He also told me that when his son heard I had type 2 diabetes, he responded that I had the "sissy" form of diabetes.
This leads me such questions as: Are there secret meetings or societies comprised only of type 1 diabetics (or those with type 1 diabetes) where they sit around and condemn those that have contracted type 2 diabetes? How do those with type 1 diabetes view (or treat) those with type 1 diabetes that are also over weight or obese? Are they secretly called type twos? Are they allowed to attend the secret meetings where types twos are condemned? And what about those individuals diagnosed with type 1.5 diabetes? Are they only half as critical toward those with type 2?
I'm just having my fun, but is it in our nature to find some one, or a group, to look down upon? Some one must be on the bottom. I hope that I am mistaken in thinking that this attitude appears to have penetrated the diabetes community. I would prefer that all diabetics support each other and commit to educating the public about our respective conditions. Those of us with diabetes are in a common fight and we should be united. As Rodney King once asked: "Why can't we all just get along?
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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