Stressing The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes: Why Do We Care?

“That’s what people get when they eat too much sugar.”

A chance remark and nothing of note to the woman that said it. But to me, it stung.

This was overheard while waiting for my prescription in Lloyds Pharmacy. A little boy keen for knowledge asked his mother to explain what a poster concerning undiagnosed diabetes was about.

I have been irked by the campaign this poster is a part of for some time already. They were first displayed during Diabetes Awareness Week back in June but have remained in stores, tacked to the front desks and to outside windows, ever since. They state that “11 million people have undiagnosed diabetes in the UK.” It uses the word ‘diabetes’ as one sweeping, blanket label. If you squint you might notice a tiny little asterisk alongside the word, which denotes ‘type 2’, written in nondescript letters in the bottom right hand corner.

Within the diabetes online community the lumping together of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is often a hot topic. But it recently occurred to me that I’ve never addressed it myself in a blog, despite having spoken a lot about it in offline conversations and on social media. After the incident in Lloyds Pharmacy it struck me that I needed to write that blog. This one.

Let me stress from the outset this is not about attacking people with type 2 diabetes or waging a war of type 1 vs. type 2. That unpleasantness is something I hate. Diabetes is a pain in the arse for anyone that has it, and we all have the right to moan and vent if we need to. But there are differences here which must be made clear whenever the conditions are referred to.

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