Things You Should Never Say To A Type 1 Diabetic
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Health and Wellness

Things You Should Never Say To A Type 1 Diabetic

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have."

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Things You Should Never Say To A Type 1 Diabetic
Reed Horton

Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed when the pancreas produces little to no insulin, and the body’s immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Having type 1 diabetes for five years, I've slowly learned that people are ignorant and don't know much about the disease. Although they know nothing about it, we know a lot about their disease known as "Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome." Here are a few things the you should never say to a type 1 diabetic.

1. "Are you sure you can eat that?"

As an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic, yes, I can eat this entire cake by myself and I will. Diabetics can have a "normal diet" just like someone who doesn't have diabetes; the difference is I have to take insulin with everything I eat.

2. "But you're so skinny! How do you have diabetes?"

"You have diabetes? But you're not fat."

Type 1 diabetes has absolutely nothing to do with your weight. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by being overweight -- that is type 2 diabetes.

3. "Isn't it so funny when people call it 'diabeetus'?"

No. It is not funny. Absolutely no humor here. This is probably one of the most disrespectful things you could say to a diabetic.

4. "You didn't laugh at my diabetes joke..."

You are exactly right. I didn't laugh because your jokes are not funny. Having to constantly check your blood glucose and take insulin injections accordingly is not the punch line to your jokes. It is the way I have to live.

5. "My grandma has diabetes, so I know all about your illness."

Oh, so you must be a pro at managing diabetes, because you watch your 60-year-old grandma manage her disease. Every case of diabetes is different, so just because you know about one person's case, does not mean you know all there is to know about diabetes.

6. "I had to get a shot once!"

As diabetics, we give ourselves a shot at least three times a day, and that's the bare minimum. Trying to relate to us by saying you got a shot once does not comfort us. Nothing compares to taking an injection of insulin before every meal, snack, or high sugar food.

7. "Did you get diabetes because you ate too much sugar as a kid?"

Absolutely not. You do not get diabetes from eating too much sugar. That is a very misconception.

8. "You'll die if you have children, right? Like in 'Steel Magnolias'?"

This is something that me and my family joke about it. But, just because I say it, doesn't mean you can. (Yes, I can hear my mom saying "Drink your juice, Shelby" and "Half o' Chiquapin Parish'd give their eye teeth to take a whack at Ouiser!") Before anything is said about the fact that we can joke about it and you can't, it is my illness. I can make jokes about it to cope with it... just like a bruise is your bruise to poke.

9. "At least it's not cancer..."

You are so right. At least it isn't cancer. But you know what? Diabetes is still one of the top five leading causes of death in the United States, and it still is a chronic illness.

10. My friend's daughter has one of those pumps that manages diabetes for her.

An insulin pump does help manage diabetes, but it does not take care of all of it. A pump doesn't check your blood glucose, and it definitely does not administer insulin by itself.

11. "You don't look like a diabetic.."

What a great observation. But, can you tell me what a diabetic looks like? "You don't look like a diabetic," well you don't look like an ignorant fool that likes to stick their foot in their mouth.


Diabetes is something that many people worldwide live with on a daily basis. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, we do want to give up sometimes. But we are so much stronger for the struggle we go through every day of our lives. So the next time you want to make a diabetes joke or think you know everything there is to the disease, take a minute to think about what you are going to say, and how it will affect the people around you. Not every diabetic is the same, not every diabetic has the same struggle. Please don't be ignorant about diabetes. If you have a question about our illness, I'm sure someone would be more than willing to answer it for you.


To all of my dia-buddies out there, keep on keepin' on. You are stronger than words can describe! We are in this together!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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