For the love of all things – stop trying to wage war on each other.
Ok that may be a bit dramatic.
It also doesn’t apply to most of my friends.
But seriously no type of diabetes is easier or more difficult than another.
No one asks for any type of diabetes and no one causes their diabetes regardless of type.
I’m not a scientist. I’m not a medical professional. I’m a coffee drinking, Doctor Who watching, lover of all things chocolate, that has no real education in diabetes aside from raising three kids with diabetes and having hundreds of friends with various types of diabetes, but I’ve been around the block. I’ve read a bazillion (slight exaggeration for effect) articles and even watched a TED talk or two and I’ve learned that new thinking suggests that Type 2 diabetes isn’t caused by obesity, can’t be cured, and has never in the history of the universe been caused by the person inflicted with it.
I don’t need a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo (I actually really love scientific stuff) to recognize that there are countless people who are fit, eat healthy, and exercise that are still diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes – they don’t fit what diet companies and mass media has portrayed as the stereotypically mold of people with Type 2 diabetes. Then there are huge numbers of people who are over weight, some considered obese, who have never developed diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the ultimate post hoc fallacy. (look it up or watch The West Wing – that’s where I learned what Post Hoc Ergo Proctor Hoc means).
A number of smart people are saying that Type 2 diabetes has a genetic component. That a person who is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was very likely experiencing insulin resistance for many years prior to a diabetes diagnosis. Insulin resistance itself causes weight gain. There for, obesity or excess weight is not the cause of diabetes, it is a symptom of an underlying condition that may have been present all the time. The added weight over taxes the pancreas which can then lead to a full diagnosis, but losing the weight, while possibly reducing the need for medications including insulin, will not cure the insulin resistance – a person with insulin resistance will always be at risk for weight gain and a re-diagnosis of diabetes – so there really is no reversing diabetes in reality.
I get that parents with young kids and many newly diagnosed people with Type 1 become exasperated by the lack of public knowledge between different types of diabetes. It is human to take the overall general ignorance personally. I know this because for a brief time after my youngest son was diagnosed I was one of them. I think had there been a petition to change the name of Type 1 diabetes to something that couldn’t be confused with Type 2 diabetes I would have signed it. After a few months I realized my anger was displaced. I wasn’t really angry at the ignorance and confusing names, I was just fucking angry at diabetes and I couldn’t take it away from my son. In my fear of being unable to do anything I thought changing the name would be something. It isn’t something and it won’t cure diabetes. Calling out one type of diabetes as ‘not a choice’ while saying the other ‘is a choice’ or can be prevented, divides a community. A community of people who all face the same complications, the same or very similar frustrations over food choices, cost of medications, inexperienced physicians, and the never-ending media clusterfuck that is diabetes education for the masses.
If you want to make a difference in how the general public understands diabetes then speak up and educate but please don’t do it at the expense of another type of diabetes. United as a community we are stronger and we need everyone in the game working toward the same goals, to end diabetes, to improve health care, to push innovation, and to stop stigmatization.
I had scribbled all these unfiltered thoughts here. Then I was reminded of a post a smarter much better looking person wrote about a year and a half ago and I was going to delete all my scribbles. She said I should still share them but I’m sharing her post below because it says more and doesn’t call science ‘mumbo jumbo’. She actually uses real numbers too.
Click HERE to read a A House Divided.