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What do you say, and what do they mean?

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by LittleSue, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    What do you say when someone says "you don't look like a diabetic"??? I often get this and after 38 years I'm still baffled by it. Do I look too short/tall, slim/fat, healthy/sick, cheerful/ miserable, young/old, sexy or blonde to be diabetic? They don't say I look well, just that I don't look diabetic! Do they think I've been misdiagnosed (but they say this before any discussion about blood sugar levels)?

    I've tried asking what they think a diabetic should look like, never got an answer.

    I reckon it must be that I'm too blonde - if I was less so, I'd understand :lol:

    Any ideas?
     
  2. sugarless sue

    sugarless sue · Master

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    Maybe we need hats with fluorescent letters that say, I'm a Diabetic ' on it ! :lol:
     
  3. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    Attending a Diabetes Centre recently I was told by the receptionist to sit in waiting area A. I duly did and sat there quite happily and waited and waited and waited.......Everyone else who had arrived after me was going in. I went back to reception to query why I was still waiting. After looking at my file online she explained that she had made a mistake as she thought I was a Type 1 and had sent me to the wrong area. "You don't look like a Type 2" she said. I asked what Type 2's look like? She told me."They are overweight". "Well they can't all be or you wouldn't have made the mistake would you?" I asked her if all Type 1's were slim but she didn't answer and it may have been because she seemed to be quite flustered. If the prejudice is even in clinics then the public perception which is fuelled by media means that the majority of the public think that you have to be overweight to be a diabetic.
    It does nothing to help people with diabetes regardless of their size and creates a them and us situation even between diabetics in some cases.
    The funny thing was when I sat in the right area, a well meaning lady who was waiting suggested that I was in the wrong area. I laughed and told her I was waiting where I should. She had a sense of humour and said, "Oh, you are not a greedy, lazy, slob like us here then". We had a good discussion about how we are perceived and some of the factors that can influence a diagnosis of Type 2. She had been on steroids for a number of years and this had made her put on weight and was a precursor to her diagnosis.
    Tall, short, blonde, dark hair, it doesn't really matter but if you have excess weight then you seem to be bullied regardless and diabetes makes it a double whammy.
     
  4. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
    Retired Moderator

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    I get this all the time, frustrating and annoying it is but I take it as a complement that I look healthy and keep reasonably fit. People's misconception of what we should look like or how we live our lives isn't helped by the way bad in which the media portrays people with diabetes.

    Nigel
     
  5. Unbeliever

    Unbeliever · Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps we should form a group "Diabetics Fight Back " or something of the kind , to combat all these stereotypes which obviously impact on our lives and treatment.

    Maybe there should be an organisation to represent us say, a charity. Oh, what was that?
    Oh yes of course it already exists and meets the prime minister and government to advise on matters afffecting those suffering from diabetes.

    Ah yes, :cry: :cry:
     
  6. Pneu

    Pneu · Well-Known Member

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    Catherine your story made me chuckle.. When I was diagnosed at 17 I was 'young, fit and healthy' I played rugby at a decent standard and being 6'6'' and built like a tank no-one would believe I was diabetic... On admission to e & e blood sugars was one of the last things the doctors there had a look at...

    Little bit different these days :) carry a touch more around the middle but that comes with approaching middle age and kids I guess... Also I think that the stereotyping of type 2 diabetics as 'fattybetic's' by the media hasn't helped anyone's cause..
     
  7. searley

    searley Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I went for an eye test, and being diabetic i am entitled to them free of charge,

    so when it came to the question time "do you pay for your test?" i said no, and was asked why, i said im diabetic

    and i got the same response "you dont look diabetic" upon questioning her it came down to the fact that im not overweight

    its probably that there is so many references to overweight people being at higher risk, coupled with the fact that a larger majority or diabetics are overweight

    as for type, most people when quizzed dont know the difference between the two main types of diabetes, most seem to be under the impression that type 2 is pill controlled, and if you are on insulin then you are type 1

    i dont know what type i am, so i just say whatever type i feel like at the time.. either way, what does it matter what others think??
     
  8. ClaireG 06

    ClaireG 06 · Well-Known Member

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    I thought i had educated my own mother better than this but obviously not :roll: I spoke to her on the phone yesterday to say that i am going to start insulin and she said but now you've lost weight surely your blood sugars are better. Sometimes i really want to bang my head against a brick wall :lol:
     
  9. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, Nigel. Even if someone is overweight and diabetic, it doesn't mean those states happened in that order.
     
  10. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    The receptionist would have no medical training. She'd probably been told "the fat ones are type 2...". Of course, she should've been told to ask the patient!
     
  11. catherinecherub

    catherinecherub · Guest

    Medical training or not she was making assumptions. Probably reads the Daily Fail.
    I did ask the Endo about her mistake. He said that she is a would be Dr. and does not relate to patients very well.
    The Type 1 diabetics in the area I was sent to were all shapes and sizes.
     
  12. Unbeliever

    Unbeliever · Well-Known Member

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    She was probably told the fat ones were all T2 by someone WITH medical training.

    My DSN believes that T"2s of nomal size :{her words} are only that way because they get rid of all the sugar in their urine!
     
  13. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    This has been going on since at least the 1970s, but its possible people's reasons have changed. In the 1970s, the diagnosis was just diabetes (no types) and was less common in children, so I suppose in the public's mind it was something older people got, and I might have seemed "too young". Whereas now type 2 is presented as linked with obesity, they probalby think I'm "too slim" to be diabetic.

    Or maybe they expect diabetics to have the symptoms of undiagnosed/uncontrolled diabetes all the time, so are surprised that I don't appear sleepy, thirsty, lethargic etc?
     
  14. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    His diagnosis of her seems correct!
     
  15. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Your DSN should know that can't be the reason if their control is good. If they're constantly weeing out sugar, perhaps she isn't doing her job properly?
     
  16. squishee

    squishee · Active Member

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    No one's ever said that to me... I guess I must "look like a diabetic" :oops:
    :lol:
     
  17. LittleSue

    LittleSue Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    so.... what do you look like :?: :wink:
     
  18. AndyS

    AndyS Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Of course this immediately need to be followed up with the other typical mistake.

    "Oh you are diabetic you can't eat sweet right?"

    Fortunately I have made a point of educating anyone who stands anywhere near me for more than a few moments. I do so enjoy dismantling peoples misconceptions and giving them real facts :)
     
  19. squishee

    squishee · Active Member

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    :lol: :lol:
     
  20. Margi

    Margi · Well-Known Member

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    There's another end of the story in type 1 land. I believe that it is very common, before diagnosis, for potential victims to be skinny. I know I was: so skinny in fact that nowadays I would have been hauled up before the child cruelty guys, despite the fact that I ate like a horse and never stopped running around like a mad thing as a child. I used to gloat over people who put on weight if they looked at cream cakes because I just stayed skinny no matter how much I ate. I was diagnosed age 17 and almost instantly put on weight - to a normal level. I understand it's not unusual for that to happen, but again, I know it's not always. If anyone dared mention it just once in the media, I'm sure then that anyone who wasn't skinny would have a job getting recognised.

    The skinny pre-diabetic would make sense. After all, if you can't absorb and use glucose at all, you are hardly going to gain weight. I don't know if my memory is really accurate, but it is certainly clear. When I started senior school, age 11, they gave us all a medical and I was 3st 10lbs!!!!! It is just possible that I'm muddling the weight up with one of the many checks that were part of the NCDS that I was a part of at an earlier age, but I don't think so. It can't have been anything to do with insulin then though, because I was only diagnosed 7 years later.

    Sorry, waffling again.
     
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