Last night’s SBS Insight feature on “Beating Diabetes” in lieu with the promotion of a new book on a diet for people with type 2 diabetes sparked a massive debate online. And as with any thing around diabetes in the media, the stigma and blame-game was overwhelming.
Let’s get this straight. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its pancreas leaving it unable to produce insulin. There is no known cause or cure to it. Type 2 diabetes is associated with insulin resistance, which means the body is unable to use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes is strongly influenced by genetic and lifestyle factors. For some people, losing weight can cause their diabetes to be in remission, but it doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.
Type 1 and 2 diabetes can happen to anyone and there are times where diagnosis isn’t clear cut. I speak from experience.
It’s a real shame when these topics appear on mainstream media, people start talking about what worked for them and how healthcare professionals are wrong. As a dietitian, I work with individuals and provide advice based on their needs and circumstances.
Just because a certain lifestyle change worked for one person, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for everyone else. It is also never as simple as “just do it”. There are times where people’s health are not a priority at that moment. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about their health. It most definitely doesn’t give others the right to judge them.
Everyone has the right to decide how to best manage their own health and what works for them. Health is never about one size fitting all.
When I started writing about my experiences with diabetes, I unknowingly became a diabetes advocate. I didn’t become a diabetes advocate to argue with close-minded people on Twitter. Instead, I want to share my experiences to help others consider other factors when it comes to living with diabetes. So please, consider having some empathy, understanding and compassion when speaking to, about and with people with diabetes.