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10 Things You Should Know About Diabetes


If you are one of the 25.8 million Americans with diabetes, you are probably an expert on the condition…and that means you probably get a lot of seemingly silly (and often frustrating) questions from friends who don’t understand it the way you do. We asked our friends on Facebook to list some of the most important things they want their friends and family to know about the disease – to answer even the most ridiculous questions once and for all!


10 Things I Want My Friends To Know About Diabetes

1. Diabetes affects every part of my body, from my eyes to my toes, and it can lead to serious complications, like kidney failure.

2. I don’t need you to tell me what I should and should not be eating, or what medications I need to take, or how much weight I need to lose, or how I need to lose it. I’ve been living with this condition for a while so I know what to do to manage it – and when I have a question, I ask my doctors.

3. I don’t have Type 1 diabetes because of my diet or exercise habits. There are two types of diabetes and most Type 1's don’t eat unhealthy to become Type 1, they’re just unfortunate. There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes. Improving eating habits and exercising will not change T1 at all.

4. Keep your diabetes anecdotes to yourself. Stop telling moms of T1 children about how your “husband’s mother’s sister had diabetes and died when she was 18.” It’s insensitive and cruel and doesn’t make life any easier – in fact, it’s horrifying and emotionally damaging.

5. Don’t tell me to take it easy. I can exercise and do things just like someone with a working pancreas.

6. Listen to us – if we say we need to eat, it doesn’t matter that we have dinner plans in two hours, we need to eat then. Don’t make us feel guilty about it. Letting our levels drop and spike is hard on ours systems.

7. When I feel I need to talk about my daily struggles with blood sugar numbers, carbs, all that stuff, just please listen. I know you get tired of hearing about it, but if I don’t talk about it, I feel I might go insane dealing with it by myself.

8. There are positives to a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. It’s encouraged me to be healthier. I am able to control Type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise. I have never felt better but I also know I have to stay on top of this monster called Diabetes.

9. No, I won’t “grow out of it.” And yes, I can eat sugar, and no, I didn’t get it from eating too much sugar. We are extremely fortunate that we have the technology and knowledge now to control diabetes so much more effectively than even five years ago.

10. I am in control of this disease – type 1 does not control me. Diabetes doesn’t define me. I am not a diabetic. Rather I am a mom, a nana, a writer, a tennis player, a jazzerciser, a wife…who just happens to have Type 1 diabetes.

This list was created from customer comments and input on our Facebook page, and obviously doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of all people with diabetes.

Add your voice to this list! What do you want your friends to know about your condition? What struggles and frustrations do you have that your non-diabetic friends don’t understand? If you know someone who has diabetes, what do you want to know about their condition?

diabetes answers


The list is accurate, consise and to the point. She didn't beat around the bush about any of the struggles we "people with diabetes" experience. Show it to everybody you deal with!!
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 12:21 PM by Gae Brislan
Amen to 5, 6, and 7, but especially 5. As an avid mountain biker, those comments really get old.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 12:38 PM by Dani
I am 37 and have been living with Type I diabetes for almost 22 years! I thought the list was great and even comical (because I've heard all the same things)! Thank you! It's nice to know that I'm not a group of 1!
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 12:46 PM by WendyLou
I'm glad you are enjoying this post! I had fun working on it and seeing things from this perspective. I can only imagine the frustration that builds up after hearing the same comments over and over.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 12:57 PM by Emily
Loved this blog post! Would love to see this become a weekly feature! "Top Ten Things You Should Know about Celiac Disease, Gastric Bypass, Autism, Heart Disease, Breast Cancer...etc. It would help those that deal with a medical condition and help the ones who don't - to understand!
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 1:05 PM by Tracy
Great suggestion Tracy! We will most definitely keep that in mind for future posts.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 1:09 PM by Emily
Here is an eye-opener. I was at work and my sugars were dropping uncomfortably fast. I must've been in the 50's and still dropping. I mentioned to my co-worker that I was having a low in case I passed out or something. She said jokingly that if I did, she'd come over and slap me around a little to "wake me up". I said at that point I would need sugar and she said, "I thought diabetics couldn't have sugar?" So, there are many misunderstandings surrounding this disease!
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 1:10 PM by WendyLou
I know someone who has type 2 and they think their diabetes is not as serious as type 1 and they don't have to watch what they eat. The diet is the same for both types. In fact every one should eat this way. The same things can happen to her as it can happen to me if I do not take care of myself.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 1:29 PM by karen
WendyLou - What a scary situation to be in, especially when the people around you don't understand what's going on. The misunderstandings surrounding diabetes (both types - thanks for pointing that out, Karen!) can be dangerous. Thank you both for sharing!
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 1:46 PM by Emily
Going off of Tracy's comment, I would like to see a "10 Things to know about Epilepsy, (or) Visual/Hearing Impairment, (or) Cerebal Palsy. :)
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 3:04 PM by Kayla Kidwell
I can't tell you how many times someone has said "Come on, you can eat just one. One won't hurt you." Why tempt myself at all. If I eat "just one", I will want another. I love #6, people without diabetes just don't understand.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 3:40 PM by Lynda
Kayla, Thank you for your feedback! I agree with you. There are so many times when you find yourself at a loss for words or saying the wrong thing when speaking with someone who has a medical condition you aren't familiar with. A "10 Things you need to know about..." will definitely become a regular blog post series. Feel free to post on our facebook wall something you would like others to know about Epilepsy. Jenna
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 4:12 PM by Jenna White
Lynda, Thank you so much for your comment. Many of us can relate to someone saying "Come on, you can eat just one" while dieting. It's true, one makes you want to have another and another.
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 4:36 PM by Jenna White
Posted @ Monday, June 27, 2011 6:54 PM by Jan Bafia
What a marvelous thing to do: 10 
things you should know... 
I am a retired nurse who's speciality was diabetics. At the 
most, I had 20 under my care. And, 
I took care of them while they were incarcerated...awaiting court 
dates and sentencing. Talk about 
some harrowing experiences. 
One thing is: not all diabetics are alike, eat alike, exercise 
alike, take medicines alike. Each 
diabetic is a speciality within 
their own selves. What is good for 
one may not and usually isn't good 
for another.  
Individuality is key to all medical 
problems, and diabetics are no exception. They know what they are 
supposed to do ~ and know when they 
do not do what they are supposed to 
do. It all boils down to each one 
accepting their own practice of 
dealing with it and knowing the 
consequences of not dealing with it. Others want to help, or think 
they are helping. Let the person 
with diabetes do the judgement on what to do. Do not talk any diabetic into anything. Let them 
be their own judge ~ others, just 
let them be. 
Thanks, Linda
Posted @ Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:49 AM by Linda Britnell
That is great advice, Linda - recognizing individuality and respecting personal choices is important when dealing with any medical condition.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 28, 2011 10:57 AM by Emily
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