I often feel like my disease is viewed as something that "you bring on yourself." And I often wonder if this stigma prevented me from being diagnosed earlier than I was. At diagnosis I was 29 with a BMI of 25. To this day, I often have to convince a new health professional that I meet (be it nurse or dietician whatever) that I do in fact have Type 2 because I guess they expect me to look a certain way.

So to stir the pot a little bit, I've got a few questions for you fellow Type 2ers.

Do you think the awareness campaigns that link obesity and Type 2 diabetes are giving us a bad rap?

Did your preconceptions of Type 2 cause you question or deny your diagnosis? Or perhaps even prevent you from investigating your symptoms?

Does the stigma around having Type 2 cause you blame to yourself in any way?

Do you resent others who don't take care of themselves and are not diabetic?

Tags: 2, awareness, obesity, resentment, stigma, type

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Oh gosh, I hear you on the "they should know better by now" comment. My mom and step mom are both nurses. I've been asked by both of them "will you ever be off insulin" - as if it's just a choice I can make. They just don't get the T1/T2 difference either, regardless of how many times I've explained it, and it astonishes me since they're both in the medical profession (well, my mom is retired now, but still).
No way! Serious? I can't believe that, and you with T1!

I've almost given up trying to educate people who think they know better. It's such a waste of energy. Especially with my story - people's eyes will glaze over. I just tell them I've been T1 for years and my body likes to stack on weight 'cause I don't eat that much and have post menopause, middle-aged spread.

I think I'm very lucky. I have a bunch of friends around me who are interested and want to be educated. I'm making them all experts! LOL Sure, they look at what I'm eating but never make comments. They just ask what I have to do if I eat this or that, or how they can help if I go low. Nice!

I'm thinking that in 10 or 20 years, the story will be different. So much research and now so much coming out about how T2 works. In the meantime many people with D will remain victims of ignorance.
Yes, yes and more yes-es. As I've noted elsewhere and in my blog website, the stigma is huge and is not going away even though research is increasingly showing that it is not just eating too much and sitting around that causes t2d. The misinformation is rampant in the media, some of it well-intentioned, but still wrong. T2ds are notoriously silent about their condition. Why advertise that you're a fat, lazy glutton to the world, and THEREFORE, you got t2d, serves you right you dunderhead. This stigma, based on falsehoods and misconceptions, is extremely harmful to the cause of t2ds giving support to each other. We're ashamed, or we're supposed to be anyhow. Today's tweets repeat the nonsense that all you have to do to cure, reverse or eliminate t2d is to exercise and not eat so much! It ain't quite that simple. As I've said to many people, including so-called health professionals, "If I had willpower with food and exercise, I wouldn't be a t2d!" Many t2d have complex, unique psychological and environmental issues that make the "simple cure" not so simple. Let's rally round realistic advice and ideas. Let's encourage radical research that gets at the deep, underlying causes of t2d. Let's do our own thing, and not be lumped in with and dominated by the 5-10% of diabetics that are t1d, having totally different perspectives - not to mention the condescending attitude of some t1ds. Let's support each other with small steps, our own remedies and tips that are real, not quackery or generalized platitudes.
Everytime someone hears me mention that I am type2 diabetic, there is always the one person who you hear say "Well we're you like fat before? Can't you just lose more weight?"...That drives me insane. Then when they hear I am insulin dependent, they get confused. My father is this type of person and he calls my illnesses (diabetes and MS) my excuses to be lazy and that all my problems would be fixed if I lost weight.... *Facepalm* I'M NOT HUGELY OBESE! lol Sure I got some love handles, but holy people. lol I was diagnosed with GAD when pregnant with my son. They do however believe I was diabetic earlier on just I never knew. Had it in my mind *ohhh ok, pop the baby out and I'll be ok again*... NOT. AC1 was 13 3 months after having my son...and been having my own little hell in a box sort of speak since.
Katrina: thanks so much for your heartfelt reply. Though our circumstances are different, as t2ds, we also have a lot in common. You understand why I get so outraged with people who apply the conventional wisdom: just eat less, go running! as the cure-all for t2d. Why is that t2ds newly diagnosed or old farts like me, have to eat perfectly and spend all their leisure time doing tedious exercise? We've been brainwashed into assuming all the fault and all the guilt for every extra pound and every bit of our high sugar levels. I think we overdo it. I'm OK with accepting our situation and reacting responsibly to it - of course, that's the thing to do, but you're like many other t2ds who were not food processors/couch potatoes before, and you were going to be a t2d sooner or later. Yes, we should, and we do fight it, accept it, work around it and strive to control it. I'm no model t2d, that's for sure; I go thru periods of "success" and periods of failure, but like most t2ds, I plug away at it. I wish there was a bit more understanding out there for t2ds, not pity and not fatuous judgments. Again, thanks for venting a bit, every t2d who shares their feelings will help the cause,,,cheers!
Grant, if you'll forgive a type 1 for weighing in (no pun intended), I think you've hit on another big misconception about type 2: that it can be controlled simply with diet and exercise and weight loss and that all-too elusive thing called will power. Yeah, right!

About half of American adults with diabetes do not meet health target numbers (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol).

At some point, medications--and often more than one type--are needed to fight insulin resistance and to replace dwindling supply of insulin. I think it's a darn shame that so many people are NOT put on medication at diagnosis. Especially because at time of diagnosis, blood glucose likely has been too high for years.

Instead, people and their healthcare pros try to undo years of eating habits and other lifestyle choices/situations (for those who fit the "typical" type 2 profile) instead of giving people the chemical help they need to deal with inflammation, insulin resistance, lack of insulin, and lack of other gut hormones.
Kelly: yes, I agree w/you. In 98, my smart Doc put me on drugs right away & in 6 mos.(!), I was hitting normal nos. on hdl, ldl, AIC - not a fan of megaceuticals per se, but some of those drugs are needed and work darn well - lipitor worked for me! I'm still looking closedly a Roux -en-y (?) gastic bypass so I can see my grandchildren, I've had enough great food; can get back into hard sports again like serious hiking, squash/tennis - maybe I can play the piano! (kidding). Thanks,
FYI, something I heard today on metabolic surgery--the most type 2 diabetes remission (no need for blood glucose-lowering drugs) occurs when metabolic surgeries are done within 5-10 years of diagnosis.

For those who've had type 2 for longer, total remission isn't guaranteed, but post-surgery people may be able to hit bg targets with fewer drugs.

But talk about major surgery! And still requires major life changes in food choices and portions that are recommended for type 2.
Kelly: Certainly, remission is not guaranteed for roux-n-y gastric bypass, but there is a lot of data from Europe and recently from US that shows about 80-89% success - I'd say that is pretty good, wouldn't you? I also know personally of people my age or so who have dropped all meds and are doing very nicely many months after: like 80% of their excess weight. In US and Cda, big drugs cos. favour lap banding because they sell the bands and it doesn't stop t2d to same extent. Doctors in Cda are ill-informed about it. Major surgery? No, I think you need to update your info: it is laproscopic surgery now, hospital for two days, back to work after, with minimal after-care or limitations. I am quite aware of the diet restrictions afterwards, which are permanent. For that reason, I call it "drastic bypass" but if I can enjoy another 10 years of health, not an unrealistic assumption, then it's worth the sacrifice when, for various valid reasons, diet and exercise won't do the trick. I'm more skeptical than anyone, and I've done the research. The big pharmas just don't want it to be used to kill their party - testing strips and drugs. The lap banders around here spread lies about it on their websites. The stakes are high. Very high. It's not a choice for all, and not all are successful, some relapse. But this is not the old stomach stapling thing with blood and gore and real surgical and recovery risks. I also think NA medical biz resists it because it is European.
hmm... interesting point. I asked a diabetes nurse if it was possible if I worked really hard and was able to bring my numbers down enough that I wouldn't need meds to control it. She said T2 is a progressive disease and if you can get to that point you should still use meds to help your body from getting worse (like exhausting your pancreas).
Some people can get off their meds and are able to control their BG by diet and exercise alone. Most people don't want to put that much effort into everyday decisions. It also depends on what kind of control you want - the ADA recommended <180 post prandial or the better <140? It varies upon the individual and what they are willing to do.
The same thing happened to me, but didn't your doc follow up with you after you gave birth? A1c at 13 is really high. Why didn't they do anything to help you continue to control it?




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