The real culprit behind the diabetes civil war: diabetes reflections episode 4

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diabetes civil war The real culprit behind the diabetes civil war: diabetes reflections episode 4Apparently I am being called up to join the diabetes civil war that’s going on thanks to a Chicago tribune columnist Julie Deardorff and her piece Diabetes’ civil war-People with Type 1 diabetes, outnumbered and overshadowed by Type 2, fight for recognition, resources — and a new name for their disorder.

I was in a mad frenzy after reading the piece, maybe it was because I had just received the worst shellacking of my career on madden football that morning and it was the first item in my in-box, but something bigger was clearly at play here so I took few days before I sat down to craft a response.

One item infuriated me the most about this article, that this had been the second time in so many weeks, I had been called a faker and a Wuss because I had type 2 diabetes.

I am a pretty understanding guy when it comes to dealing with ignorance and please believe this is pure ignorance but this second incident offered a splinter of a questioning in my mind.

Is this how type 1 diabetic’s really feel about type 2′s?

Is there a line being drawn in the sand here? should I be up at arms and take sides in this supposed diabetes civil war, should I sink down to a level where we we are obviously being pushed by mainstream media and their absolute loath for anything diabetes related.

The real culprit behind this diabetes civil war is the media, they are the instigators and the manipulators to fit their agenda which is to sell sensational driven stories, and thus they will fabricate and distort facts to fit their agenda.

As a diabetic, I should know better and from reading this story, I should clearly respond differently to the obvious creation of a rift between the two types, for it is clearly not the diabetic community who have perpetuated the lumping of these two together but the media.

Headlines like ” UnitedHealth Predicts $3.4 Trillion Diabetes Decade” or “New report calls diabetes a ticking bomb for U.S.” intentionally lump diabetes together and their footnote disclaimers do nothing to lessen the impact the titles create.

I could point to countless headlines screaming of the diabetic epidemic which do the exact same thing, tying diabetes together onto one melting cauldron, and then it becomes a surprise act when there are feelings of discontent among us, but do this rumblings equate to an all out civil war? I think not

By the way those looking to differentiate diabetes must have forgotten that there is yet another class of diabetics out there, the type 1.5′s or LADA‘s.

Cherise Shockley, @Diabetic_Iz_Me one of the most admired advocates in the diabetic community, she has type 1.5 or LADA and am sure she feels left out of this discussion, she probably does more in the name of diabetes awareness for the diabetic community than many type 1 or type 2 diabetics I know, and yet she faces the same myopic perception we all face.

So before before we go drawing lines in the sand in a phantom media perpetuated diabetes civil war and changing names we should put more emphasis on education and raising diabetes awareness because in the infamous words of Shakespeare, “”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” In this case diabetes will always be diabetes in whatever name you call it….you could call it Bob but once you tell someone its a diabetes variant, you will get the same ignorant self induced perception you get today.

update:

1. A type 1′s take on this discussion thanks Sarah Jane of Sarahndipity and her post on the idiocy of the diabetes civil war.

2. Renata of Diabetic Duo has 2 kids with type 1 diabetes here is her take on this issue in her post  us vs them

update: 11/30

I simply had to add Cherise’s response to this issue it is priceless. here it is

” I think I was a

little caught off guard by the whole article.

I think the subject is stupid and the points made behind it are stupid-I agree, the
public should be taught the difference but hating someone because they have a more
common form of diabetes is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. 

As a person living with diabetes it pains my heart. We have other issues to worry
about! Diabetes is a a disease that attacks anyone-diabetes doesn't discriminate! 
This news paper article is fueling the fire that the diabetes community is trying to
put out.  I don't think anyone with diabetes asked for it-overweight or not.

IMO, the media found another way to turn T-2's and T-1's against each other-instead
of focusing on the how to fix the media and public perception. 

I'm upset."

Well said Cherise, well said..

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10 Comments

  1. Excellent post Ron…‎”diabetes will always be diabetes in whatever name you call it”. “TYPE D” all the way!

  2. “What’s in a name?”
    I have type 1 diabetes. I do not refer to people who have diabetes as “diabetics” because I do not believe that human beings are defined by their diabetes… but I digress.

    I returned from vacation last week. While on vacation, I ordered a drink at Starbucks and double-checked with the barista that he had used sugar-free syrup and explained that I have diabetes. The reply I received, rather typically, was, “You don’t look diabetic.” My response was, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize that people with autoimmune disorders tend to look a particular way. Please… do tell me more…” He responded with, “Well, most of my family has diabetes and they’re all obese.” Then I had to go through my explanation of how they are two separate diseases and how they are caused by two separate mechanisms and how mine has nothing to do with anything at all that was even remotely within my control, and how I need insulin in order to live and will need it for the rest of my life, blah, blah, blah.

    I am truly sick of it. I am in the healthcare industry and regularly have to read biomedical literature. There’s TONS of research on Type 2 diabetes right now… because that’s where all the funding can be found. And as a researcher myself, I can tell you that research is designed around funding, not the other way around. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a report on research findings for Type 1. Literally. I cannot remember… oh wait. I can. It was cancer risk and Lantus.

    My point being, I’m sick of the public assuming I should be obese and that I brought my disease on myself. Yes, I know, not all people with Type 2 fall into that category, but many do. And because that’s what people hear about, that’s what’s funded, and that’s what the public knows about. The media reports study findings. When all the studies are exploring type 2 diabetes, that’s what the media hears about. That the media seem not to realize that Type 1 even exists should therefore be a surprise to no one.

    I truly do believe we should have different disease names. My disease isn’t the same as your disease. There is no reason they should have the same name. It would make sense to call cancer cystic fibrosis, just as it doesn’t make sense to call type 1 and type 2 “diabetes.”

    Our opinions differ. I think that as a person who has Type 1, I have had different experiences than you have and my experiences factor into my opinions.

  3. Sorry, that should have read

    “I truly do believe we should have different disease names. My disease isn’t the same as your disease. There is no reason they should have the same name. It wouldN’T make sense to call cancer cystic fibrosis, just as it doesn’t make sense to call both type 1 and type 2 “diabetes.”

    • I think we have bigger problems than just a name change which by the way would not guarantee a bigger redistribution of research funds..
      yes type 2 diabetes gets the most attention and that would be obvious because 90% of diabetics are type 2 yet we are seriously lacking in funding compared to let say cancer with 28 million globally and receiving just about the same amount of funding as diabetes which is almost 10 times the size. I clearly understand the need for private funding for a cure but most of these funds come from the same average Joe who clearly thinks diabetes is a disease that can easily be cured by diet and exercise, problem is the percentage of those “cured” is minuscule compared to the rest of us, I have been a type 2 diabetic for 13 years now was never obese and was fairly active all my life then and now yet I am bundled with the same group of obese sedimentary life living type 2 who by the way do exist but I can also tell you that there are many of us type 2′s who are not and have never been obese, does that mean we should be classified differently because the diet and exercise cure obviously does not work for us, what about the 1.5 or LADA diabetic’s…I think it makes more sense to educate the average consumer so when we come asking for those research dollars , they will be more forthcoming with more money in the pool, the more money will become available for research and this education can only be clearly achieved with efforts from the media who are the real culprits behind this problem

  4. There are some serious issues in nomenclature and public perception to be addressed. First, not all (name your type) diabetes is the same — for example, there are at least two types of autoimmune diabetes (fast-developing “type 1″ and slow-developing “LADA”); six known types of MODY; and as near as I can tell, at least three, possibly more, separate types of “type 2″ diabetes (protein-folding-error-moderated, lipokine-moderated, impaired glucose tolerance, and possibly a leptin-moderated type — just for starters). These ignore surgically-induced diabetes (as treatment for pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, etc.), as well as whether or not gestational diabetes should be considered a special case of “type 2″.

    Splitting the hairs may or may not help public perception of diabetes causes and treatments (e.g., how many of us who don’t know anyone with cancer know the treatments for cancer in any more detail than “surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy”?); it may remain to be seen whether this would more-finely tailor the allocation of funding towards palliation, remediation, arrestation, reversal, and cure of each type of diabetes — or just as likely, leave each persistently-hyperglycemic segment of the population even more underserved, as we each become separate “orphan diseases” fighting for the same research dollars. The orphan-splintering could cause fundraising efforts to be even less effective, as more effort would be needed for outreach to an increasingly-splintered and spent-out pool of potential donors.

    Much needs to be thought out before proceeding along this, or any other, path of name-changing.

    • My sentiments exactly, I am a firm believer that segmenting the types just for research dollar purposes will do more harm than good in the long run, as you stated, we are fighting for a piece of an ever shrinking pie of dollars

  5. Hey Ron, I just wrote a post about this this morning. Please read!

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