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#DBlogWeek Day 3 Language and Diabetes

From BittersweetDiabetes:

There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I'm willing to bet we've all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don't care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples?"

Just like so many aspects of diabetes--there is no one definitive answer!

There are those who prefer to use "person with diabetes' aka PWD:


"Will has diabetes, he is not a diabetic."

"It matters to me! My son has diabetes, he is not "a diabetic."

"It does matter. Diabetes does not make the person. The person is who they are. Why can't it be "a person fighting diabetes" like "a person fighting cancer." I wish people would just stop looking at diabetes and see a real person."

And those who aren't bothered by "diabetic":

"It doesn't matter to me for most things (T1D for 20 years), but I prefer everyone specify which type of diabetes they are talking about when they speak ..."

"I use both interchangeably---in writing I often use "person with diabetes" but when speaking that seems cumbersome. Sometimes diabetic is just faster."

But when it comes to "testing" vs "checking" blood sugar--there is a clear winner. Checking has a more positive tone. Testing implies that failure is a possibility.

Which brings to mind--are there "good" bg numbers and "bad" numbers? If we use those terms, what are we telling ourselves (or our children if we are caregivers of those with diabetes)? Any blood sugar check is a good thing--because it gives us information that can be acted upon. High? Give a correction. Low? Treat. Anything in between? Move along, nothing to be done here.

And probably the worst terms to use with a PWD-- control and compliant:

"I rather people talk of living with Type 1 Diabetes as management and not control (for example, "How is your management going?" vs. "Are your blood sugars under control?"), because there is so much that can effect our blood sugar that is outside our control and the word control has an underlying implication that if things aren't perfect then you are careless and that is untrue."


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