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5 Type 2 Diabetes Misconceptions That Get Under My Skin

Real Talk

July 17, 2020

Content created for the Bezzy community and sponsored by our partners. Learn More

by Mila Clarke

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Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH

Medically Reviewed

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•••••

by Mila Clarke

•••••

Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH

Medically Reviewed

•••••

•••••

We’re conscious of our chronic condition and the potential complications that come with it — and we shouldn’t be treated otherwise.

Ever since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016, I’ve noticed the stigma and shame that others project on those living with the condition.

Sometimes the stigmatizing comments come from your family, even if they mean well. Sometimes, in my case, judgment comes straight from strangers on the internet. Other times, it even happens in doctors’ or specialists’ offices.

Those comments can affect our mental health, who we tell about our diagnosis, and even how we manage our condition.

I wanted to share a few of these misconceptions that I’m so sick of, and explain why they grind my gears.

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You shouldn’t be eating that

I know that when someone asks if I’m allowed to eat something that it usually comes from a caring place, but it always annoys me.

If I’m seen eating a piece of chocolate, or I post a burger on Instagram, I sometimes get comments like, “Hey! You can’t eat that.”

The truth is that people with type 2 diabetes are caring for their bodies and blood sugars all the time.

I use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) so that I know exactly where my numbers are. Whatever we’re eating, we’ve usually carefully accounted for it.

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If you have diabetes, it’s your fault

This misconception bothers me because no one asks to have type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is not a character flaw — but society treats it that way.

While poor lifestyle choices, obesity, and other factors can exacerbate insulin resistance, it doesn’t mean anyone should get blamed for their diagnosis.

People with type 2 diabetes are lazy

I hear this one a lot. Because our chronic illness is often defined as something we caused, we can get labeled as “lazy,” or we don’t take care of our health.

The opposite is true. Diabetes is complicated and confusing.

While managing proper blood sugar levels, people with diabetes are also working against potential complications like heart attacks, strokes, hearing loss, or amputations.

Laziness is not a part of our vocabulary. We’re constantly making changes to better our health. If we don’t, we face some significant health consequences.

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Technology isn’t for people with type 2 diabetes

Technology like insulin pumps or CGMs are hard to get access to when you’re living with type 2 diabetes.

Sometimes, insurance companies might not cover blood sugar supplies like a CGM or may deny you a pump even if you’re on insulin.

While cost and access can be barriers, people with type 2 diabetes can use technology to benefit us.

When I first got my CGM, I was thrilled that I didn’t have to stop whatever I was doing that day to prick my finger for a blood sugar reading. I also loved that I had data about patterns, time in range, and an estimated A1C.

All of these numbers helped me improve toward my goals, but the tech gave me greater insight to why I was doing better — and how to keep going.

Numbers are everything when it comes to diabetes. Having access to all the numbers we need can only benefit us.

Diets and supplements are a cure for type 2 diabetes

This one gets to me every single time. While diabetes can be managed, there’s no single ingredient (no, not even cinnamon), that can cure any kind of diabetes.

Every body is different, but focusing on whole, unprocessed foods, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help you better manage your blood sugar.

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The bottom line

People with type 2 diabetes deserve so much better than stigma and shame.

What I’ve learned through my diagnosis and meeting other people with type 2 diabetes is that we’re all managing a complex disease from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep.

From when to take medication and how much, to reading nutrition labels and deciding what exercise might help us keep our blood sugars in range, we make hundreds of decisions a day.

We’re conscious of our chronic condition and the potential complications that come with it — and we shouldn’t be treated otherwise.

It’s up to all of us to learn, have empathy, and understand what we can do to crush those stereotypes, so people with type 2 diabetes don’t keep experiencing them.

Article originally appeared on July 17, 2020 on Bezzy’s sister site, Healthline. Last medically reviewed on July 14, 2020.


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About the author

Mila Clarke

Mila Clarke is a diabetes patient advocate with type 1.5 diabetes (LADA), and the founder of The Hangry Woman blog, which shares approachable food and lifestyle tips to help others living with all types of diabetes. HangryWoman.com covers topics like diabetes management, shame and stigma, cooking, and self-care from the perspective of someone living with the chronic condition. Follow her on Instagram and YouTube.

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