The Battle Between Type 1 v Type 2 Diabetes

You have all been there. The questions that people who don’t have diabetes, or don’t understand diabetes ask that infuriates you to the core of your being ‘Did you get diabetes from eating too much sugar?’. Misconceptions, misinformation, presumptions, assumptions are not helpful to people with diabetes, but people with diabetes need to look at their own language and behaviors also. There is plenty of misconceptions between people who have diabetes, no more so between people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

It has now become a battle field, people with Type 2 Diabetes thinking that people with Type 1 Diabetes have ‘the worst kind of [pull_quote align=”left”]There is plenty of misconceptions between people who have diabetes, no more so between people with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes[/pull_quote]diabetes’. People with Type 1 Diabetes think people with Type 2 Diabetes ‘brought it on themselves’….they become resentful towards them because they could have ‘prevented or reversed’ their diabetes, where as people with Type 1 Diabetes are saddled with a disease they have no choice with.

In my experience these opinions are not helpful, in fact they are hurtful and misleading. How can we educate a government, a population, our peers, our friends, our family if we do not know the full facts ourselves? Frankly I am sick of it and I have always advocated for mixed support groups for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes so that both groups can learn from each other. I have facilitated these in the past, with much success; for people with Type 2 Diabetes they realized insulin is not a life sentence, learning how do deal with the everyday challenges of injections from people with Type 1 Diabetes, who are the experts in this area. People with Type 1 Diabetes saw thin, young healthy people with Type 2 Diabetes….they didn’t waddle in and they weren’t gorging on tea and biscuits through the groups.

There is no ‘worst’ kind of diabetes in my eyes because if both types of diabetes are not controlled they lead to the same complications. I maybe at risk of alienating alot of people with diabetes when I say this, but in a way people with Type 1 Diabetes are at a hidden advantage. The are confronted with the reality of diabetes face on. They don’t have the luxury of letting diabetes climb down a list of priorities and melt away in the background of complacency.

The frustration I face of watching someone with Type 2 Diabetes let their condition slip through their fingers because they feel fine and their diabetes doesn’t have a major impact on their lives; watching them return to my practice 5 or 6 years later with a stack of Did Not Attend(DNA) letters in their file and complications of their diabetes that I can’t reverse. Diabetes is a relatively silent condition and more so when you have Type 2 Diabetes. There can be a sort of false sense of security with Type 2 Diabetes.

On average 50 -60% of people with Type 2 Diabetes are on insulin, so people with Type 1 Diabetes have a vital role in helping people with Type 2 Diabetes understand insulin and the challenges they may face. May I add, a person with Type 2 Diabetes on insulin is not or does not become a Type 1 Diabetic, they have Type 2 ‘Insulin requiring’ Diabetes.

Please stop this battle between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. Take your frustrations out on the media or other bodies who stereotype people with diabetes, not each other. By understanding the complexities of each others diabetes, you gain a better insight and make for a better discussion on a whole about diabetes, not an argument of who is better or worse.

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