Diabetes and Endocrinology
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Even though 37 million Americans, or 1 in 10, have type 2 diabetes, it’s still highly misunderstood and stigmatized. People often blame individuals with type 2 diabetes for their diagnosis, which causes guilt and shame.
The best way to dispel misconceptions, according to Heather Brown, a registered dietitian, is to understand what it’s like for people with type 2 diabetes.
“It’s not fair to just assume things without knowing the whole picture.”
More than diet
People with type 2 diabetes are often seen as lazy and not healthy. But, as Heather points out, “there’s a lot of things that go into having high blood sugar.”
You have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes if you
- Are 45 and older.
- Had gestational diabetes.
- Have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
Other conditions can increase someone’s risk as well. Those with polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS, are commonly insulin-resistant, making them more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Being overweight is another contributing factor.
Regardless, judging others for their type 2 diagnosis, no matter the cause, reinforces stigmas.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed with lifestyle choices, but it requires constant attention. For many, this causes frustration and even burnout.
“They can’t turn it off,” Heather says. “It’s always going to be there.”
With type 2 diabetes, a lot can cause someone’s blood sugar levels to dip or spike.
Things that affect blood sugar levels for diabetics include
- Poor sleep
- High levels of stress
- Hormone changes
There’s more that goes into having and treating type 2 diabetes than many of us realize, and Heather urges us to “Take the time to get to know somebody that is dealing with type 2 diabetes to see that that person is still human and doing the best they can with it. It’s a lot to deal with every single day.”
Talk with a doctor about your risk of type 2 diabetes.Request an appointment
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