Channel 4's the Hospital - Letter to the editor

Having type 1 diabetes raises the risk of developing anorexia or bulimia twofold. 40% of 15 - 30 year old female Type 1's also regularly induce potentially fatal diabetic ketoacidosis by omitting their insulin to loose weight rapidly. There are a plethora of mental health issues that can accompany a diagnosis of type 1, a rare (less than 250,000 in the UK) auto immune disease whereby the immune system accidentally kills off the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. As a result T1's are dependent on synthetic insulin to stay alive, too much is injected and a hypoglycemic coma can occur, not enough and you can die of acidosis. It is a second by second disease that never takes a holiday and requires constant attention. No one knows why Type 1 happens, popular theories include a faulty reaction to a virus or an extreme physical shock. You would not have learned this or the difference between type 1 (typically diagnosed early in life, completely unrelated to diet or lifestyle issues) and type 2 diabetes (typically diagnosed in adults and correlated with diet and lifestyle issues) if you had watched channel 4's the Hospital. There is a huge amount of ignorance surrounding type 1 diabetes, children diagnosed often get bullied as the distinction between this and type 2 is not advertised in the media and people presume it is caused by eating rubbish and being lazy. Perhaps what Channel 4 have missed is that this kind of irresponsible, inaccurate and tabloidesque programming can seriously damage type 1 diabetics. Many feel under extreme pressure to be thin, to detach from the stereotype of an illness that is completely unrelated to their own and like stated above develop very serious eating disorders. At no point at all in the documentary did Channel 4 make the distinction between the two types and the last statement by their 'expert' was that diabetes will become like smoking, cut to the type 1 not taking her insulin and by the way with a blood sugar reading of HI she should have been in front of an A & E nurse not a camera. This is just going to further promote confusion and add to the appalling ignorance faced by t1's everyday. I seriously hope that future broadcasting will take the quarter of a million Type 1's who did NOTHING to encourage the onset of their diabetes into consideration. Channel 4 should be ashamed of themselves they have potentially wiped out the hard work of t1's, their carers and supporters in raising awareness of this truly awful disease. And for what? To prove that teenagers are stupid and irresponsible. Poor, poor show.

Kind Regards

Jacqueline Allan


Views: 25

Tags: 4's, Channel, Hospital, the

Comment by Frances on August 19, 2010 at 6:38am
There are also plenty of T2s who did nothing to encourage the onset of their diabetes, but thanks for continuing to perpetuate the idea that we did.
Comment by joy on August 19, 2010 at 9:12am
I know 3 T2's who are of normal Ht.-Wt.--so its not accurate to say all T2's have the disease cause they eat rubbish and are lazy.
Comment by Seth on August 19, 2010 at 9:48am
As I read this I see:

...type 2 diabetes (typically diagnosed in adults and correlated with diet and lifestyle issues)...

and and people presume it is caused by eating rubbish and being lazy...

not being accusatory by DWED, but stating the "Typical" way T2 is acquired and peoples perceptions of All diabetics. Again I don't see this as perpetuating a stereotype or saying all T2's are fat and lazy.

I think with all the information coming out about diabetes the public (and diabetics) need to be educated on both the Similarities and Differences of T1 and T2.
Comment by Frances on August 19, 2010 at 12:33pm
Well, I would argue that "diet and lifestyle issues" are NOT the typical way that T2 is *acquired*. Genes may be expressed, or not be expressed, but you are born with them.
Comment by inside out on August 22, 2010 at 9:07pm
Bravo. Well said. I see that some Type 2's are upset, but in no way did you state or infer that Type 2 cause thier own diabetes. EVERYONE, type 1 and type 2's are extremely sensitive to the issue, and rightly so. I become infuriated when there is no distinction between type 1 and type 2. All the literature out there also says that Type 2 diabetes can be avoided, this is also NOT TRUE; if you are predisposed to it, and you still take great care of yourself, you can still get it. There are steps that minimize the risk of type 2 for some people, that's the best that can be said about it. Whoever and however anyone gets type 1 or type 2, it is a devastating blow for every single one of us.
Comment by Frances on August 23, 2010 at 5:36am
I'm in my early forties. And I've been struggling with my weight since I was about four years old, far longer than you have been alive, I am sure. I exercise daily for almost 50 minutes, and have always eaten what they say we're supposed to eat: lowfat, lots of complex carbohydrates including fruits and vegetables. But like many people with Type 2, I inherited the metabolic syndrome. Despite restricting my calories my weight ballooned. As soon as I switched to a low carb diet that was high in fat and protein, the weight fell off me. Now I have a BMI of 26 and my weight is still decreasing.

I would suggest that maybe if some of the self-pitying, self-entitled young women with Type 1 and eating disorders took as good care of themselves as the people with T2 on this board do, they would be in good enough shape to not feel like they have to kill themselves by playing with their insulin in order to stay thin.
Comment by Manny Hernandez on August 23, 2010 at 8:31am
I am not happy to see stereotyping of any kind (towards people with type 1 or people with type 2) on the site. That is why we spent quite a bit of time putting together this video last year, as another incident of type 1-vs-type 2 discussion erupted.

Hope it helps show where we (Diabetes Hands Foundation, the nonprofit running the community) stands on this issue:
Comment by Jacq Allan on August 23, 2010 at 9:40am
I have responded directly to diabetes on this
Comment by The Diabetic Welfare Queen on August 23, 2010 at 10:27am
I really feel for the young girls who get eating disorders as they are overly judged by society, in their own perceptions sometimes... and sometimes because of miseducation and bullying. I will add, without wanting to be argumentative in any way, that Diabetes (all of it, no matter the type) is a lot more complicate than any simple statistic of 80% were fat, and 20% were thin... or "did something" vs "did nothing" to cause their Diabetes. In fact, the genetics of this disease are so complicated that it is now beginning to be understood that Type 2 Diabetes is also an immune disease, and that it affects the hormone leptin which controls hunger and satiety, as well. It is the Hyperinsulinemia in Type 2 Diabetes which causes the weight gain, and causes insulin resistance. There is a problem with the way hormones in our fat communicate with insulin, and communicate with leptin. Also, there are issues with a genetic predisposition (for reasons related to the dynamic I just explained, and others) why most of the people with Type 2 Diabetes also have a genetic predisposition to weight gain and fat accumulation issues. This is not as simple as "it could have been avoided." If a person's body constantly stores things away as fat because there's a lack of communication with insulin, and if another person eats and eats, because there is not enough leptin hormone to tell them they're full, then... there hardly is cause to say "hey, you were fat and lazy, and gave yourself Diabetes." I do agree that prevention dollars are wasted... But I feel the prevention dollars are wasted because there is NO SUCH THING AS PREVENTION. Whether we get it earlier in life, or not, we are still going to get it...

Even in someone did excessively eat, and eat... for whatever the reasons... What do we gain by calling them fat and lazy? We gain nothing... but hurt feelings, and division... and grief... Overeating is just as much an eating disorder as it is Anorexia, and Bulimia... And anyone could argue that it is just as much a "preventable" disease... But people understand "better" the pressures that some kids face, these days... They just don't want to understand the pressures that perhaps an overweight person might face, and will go ahead and just blame them for their conditions, whatever they are, as they are the more "undesirable" members of society...

So, I think... I really hope that you would walk away from that "you could have prevented this" mindset, and understand that all that media misconception affects everyone... Everyone... And we all need support. However we got this disease, no one deserves to be called names, and we all deserve equal help.

I do appreciate what you do, and know that I truly am proud of you.

Comment by Jacq Allan on August 23, 2010 at 10:59am
Ok - i have deleted some of my earlier posts in this thread as I can see how they may have come across so please let me settle this once and for all.

I wrote this post because the programme did not represent Type 1 diabetes accurately. I represent type 1 girls who also have eating disorders and my response was of that nature. I have already had members of my support group messaging me to say that they didn't want to take their insulin as a result of being associated with type 2.

The media promotes tirelessly that eating rubbish and being lazy will cause diabetes. Allthough I am sure there are a large number of t2s who procured t2 through genetics or other non environmental factors, that is not the message that has been put accross. It is this that I am complaining about. And there are a certain amount of people who did get t2 through a bad diet and sedentary lifestyle. This is why the 'typical diagnosis' comment.

The issue is that while this message is not productive to people who have diabetes of any kind it is particularly damaging to young t1's who are having to navigate through the constant injections, the hypo's, the hypers, the being totally different and then suddenly all this education that essentially teaches you to be obsessed with food. It is no wonder that having t1 puts you at type the risk of ana and mia.

Lizmari. While I respect your opinion you must repect that Deliberate Insulin Ommision can kill you in hours. The second a T1 omits they are on the clock. Also I am aware that their are many issues with T2 and Eating disorders but I don't run a charity for t2's. I run a charity for T1's and the letter is in that vein

Also I have to point out that there are millions of Type 2 diabetics, and that is millions of potential advocates. If you take offense to the progromme or what I've written then I would recommend writing your own instead of picking holes in mine. There are only 250,000 T1's in the UK and I represent an even smaller proportion of them that have further issues.

At the end of the day the girls that I represent and support are very happy with what I have said and the way that I have said it and it is them that I ultimately work for so that is enough for me


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