Blog: Why Not Diabetic? Person Not the Disease

III Part Series: Language of Diabetes

Part I: Why Not Diabetic? Person Not the Disease

Honestly, I was a bit ignorant, prior to reading the paper “Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education” that the term “diabetic” was simply incorrect to use. In my thinking, it was simply semantics. Boy was I mistaken! I became acutely aware of just how wrong it was when I posted a picture of Meg (after getting permission) on my social media page proudly wearing her “I am diabetic” t-shirt. Meg is a person with diabetes with whom I work closely as her diabetes educator. Meg has really struggled to embrace the diagnosis of diabetes so wearing this particularly t-shirt was her way of displaying she accepted the diagnosis. I was sharply scolded by fellow diabetes educators. Lesson learned that I will not post pictures displaying “diabetic” nor use the term, “diabetic,” while respecting Meg’s right to use terminology that she is most comfortable.

So why not diabetic? In basic terms, diabetic labels a person by the disease rather than as a person who happens to have diabetes. The disease, diabetes, is placed first rather than the person. Diabetic also creates a sense of disability as if something is wrong with the “diabetic” person. We know that this certainly not true. Which sounds more negative, diabetic or person with diabetes? Okay, it is pretty obvious that person with diabetes is more positive. Having provided care, education and support for persons with diabetes for a number of years now, I can greatly appreciate the energy and commitment it takes to live with this condition, and the numerous considerations that are made daily in self-managing this condition. So creating opportunities for a positive perspective is vital. Back to Meg, she certainly is defined by more than the disease of diabetes rather her identity as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister far greater than any disease.

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Diabetic is often used beyond just describing person with diabetes to also describing education or complications. As a diabetes educator, I cringe when I read the words, “diabetic education.” I want to scream from the top of my lungs every time I read these words. Rather than scream, I edit the words in the computer to diabetes education. There are numerous possible complications from diabetes so simply describing the complication for what it is rather than labelling it as a “diabetic” complication.

There is much education and advocacy yet to be done to change the language of diabetes. My hope is that this blog will prompt you to change the language you speak regarding diabetes and spread the message. Back to Meg, last week, she proudly showed me a picture of her new diabetes sweatshirt displaying message about diabetes awareness month.

Special thanks to Jane Dickinson, Susan Guzman, Melinda Marynik, Catherine O’Brian, Jane Kadohiro, Richard Jackson, Nancy D’Hondt, Brenda Montgomery, Kelly Close and Martha Funnell who wrote Use of Language in Diabetes Care and Education

Daily Piece: Giving Tuesday with Focus on Diabetes

Today is Giving Tuesday.  What a wonderful day to give to positively impact those living with diabetes!  It is a great time to make a financial donation to organizations with a focus on diabetes. Some of my favorite diabetes organizations are AADE Education and Research Foundation (diabeteseducator.org/foundation), Diabetes Sisters (diabetessisters.org) and JDRF (jdrf.org) .    Please take a moment to give as no amount is too small.  Thank you for giving.

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#GivingTues    #diabetes

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Daily Piece: Medication Reminders for the Busy Christmas Season

Christmas season has begun with all of the excitement, stress, depression or numerous other emotions that you may feel during this time.  Bottom line even in the joy or grieving (especially if it your “first” Christmas without a special loved one or friend) of the season it is so easy to forget to take care of yourself.  One of the self management behaviors (aka ways to take care of yourself) of diabetes is taking medications.  A couple of medication tips: 1) utilize a reminder system such as a pill box or reminder app on smart phone to make sure that you take your medicine each day, and 2) when traveling, make to pack medications in your carry on luggage rather than you packed bags.

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#medication    #reminders     #Christmas #season

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Daily Piece: Beginning Daily Habit of Gratitude on Thanksgiving

On this special day of gratitude and thanksgiving, I challenge you to make a gratitude list daily of 3 -5 things/people for which you are thankful.  I began this habit a couple of months ago when a very kind student, Freddi, gave me the gift of a gratitude journal.  This has transformed my daily perspective and attitude (yes, even on bad days) and it could change yours as well.  I wish each of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.Image result for thanksgiving

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#gratitude   #daily     #thanksgiving

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Daily Piece: Dealing with Food and Stress of Holidays – Tips from an Expert

It is Thanksgiving Eve.  I am excited about running a Turkey Trot 5K bright and early in the morning to start the day off right to offset the temptations that I will face later in the day.  Holidays like Thanksgiving can present challenges with food and stress. I read a blog from Adam with DiaTribe on his tips for dealing with food and stress during the holidays earlier today. Adam always provides great tips as he knows how tough it can be as he lives with Type 1 diabetes. Please click below to read Adam’s tips.

https://diatribe.org/holiday-bright-spots-diabetes-tips?utm_source=diaTribe&utm_campaign=ab93aa99f5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_11_20_05_14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_22467a8528-ab93aa99f5-152660205

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#Thanksgiving    #holiday     #food  #stress

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Daily Piece: Go Back to Basics of Insulin Injection

I heard any interesting story of a person with Type 2 diabetes last week who required continual increases in insulin dose yet the blood sugar values would not change.  So it was time to go back to the basics to figure out the mystery of why the insulin was not working.  As it turns out, the person injected in the insulin pen needle however they dialed back the insulin pen rather than pressing the button to deliver the insulin.  After the mystery was solved, the dose of insulin was cut by 60%.  Insulin pen injection technique matters.

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#basics    #insulin     #injection

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Daily Piece: ADA Position Statement on Management of Youth-Onset Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

ADA has released an updated position statement on management of youth-onset Type 2 diabetes. Please click below learn more about this position statement.

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2018/10/26/dci18-0052

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#youth    #Type 2 diabetes     #management

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Daily Piece: Updated Cholesterol Guidelines

Updated cholesterol treatment guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology emphasize personal approach.  It is no longer one size fits.   Considerations such as family history, whether a person has diabetes and whether person is of an ethnicity considered to be at a higher risk must be assessed.  Click below to learn more details about these exciting new updated guidelines.

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000624

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#heart    #cholesterol     #guidelines

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Daily Piece: Wearing Blue Today

Celebrating World Diabetes Day!  I am wearing blue in honor of all those living with diabetes and prediabetes.  Join me in honoring these amazing people.

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#wear    #blue     #world #diabetes #day

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Daily Piece: Heart Protection

It sure is nice if a diabetes medication has an additional benefit.  Now, there four diabetes medications that protect the heart….Victoza, Trulicity, Invokana and Jardiance.

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#diabetes    #heart     #protection

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