Although this is the longest hashtag I have probably ever used, it’s one of my favourites. #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes was started last year by Kelly from Diabetesaliciousness and focuses on showing the public what living with diabetes is really like. You can read more about it here. Here’s a few things I wish people knew about diabetes.
I wish people knew that diabetes is not a punchline. How often have we heard or seen this: ‘Omg look at that cake! It’s like diabetes waiting to happen.’ I’m sure it seems like all fun and games to make fun of medical conditions if don’t have to live with it everyday. The cause of diabetes is complex. Cake or desserts will not magically give you diabetes.
I wish people knew that diabetes is more complex than a black and white diagnosis of type 1 or type 2. Seems like there is a lot more that is going on with diabetes than we previously thought. Experts are starting to identify specific ‘strains’ of diabetes from our genetic profile. I suspect that one day our traditional classification of diabetes will be deemed too simplistic.
I wish people knew that diabetes comes with so much stigma. Stigma comes from all the misinformation, which is further fueled by the media. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. It’s an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body attacks its own cells. Type 2 diabetes is complex to understand. As much as lifestyle factors can influence type 2 diabetes, genetics play an enormous role.
I wish people knew that diabetes stigma is hurtful. Especially when it comes from other people living with diabetes. When it comes to diabetes management, everyone has their own challenges, despite the type of diabetes they have. No one has the right to downplay someone’s health or how they manage it. If people ask for support, please help!
I wish people knew that diabetes has enriched my life. Despite all the challenges living with diabetes presents, I have also never felt more empowered. Diabetes has taught me to be humble and appreciate everything that we have. Being part of the diabetes online community and the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes programme also continues to present me with an amazing world of friendship and family that almost makes living with diabetes worth the trouble.