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Diabetes Stigma..shifting a woman's view

A life with diabetes you've probably noticed the "Stigma"...judgement, labels, beliefs used to characterize those of us living with this disease. Like most anything we base our beliefs on what we see, hear or what we're told, even if it doesn't ring true.

Avoid judging yourself or others with diabetes, instead focus on helping each other learn and better understand.

A few facts to shift your understanding:

Type 1 diabetes - the pancreas no longer makes insulin, so blood sugar cannot enter the cells to be used for energy. Those of us with type 1 diabetes require insulin to survive and must be injected daily. The cause of type 1 is unknown, but the occurrence is greater if a parent or sibling also has type 1 diabetes. Environmental factors, recent illness or stress have been possible markers in some diagnosis.

Type 2 diabetes - (also pre-diabetes, type 1.5, gestational) either the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly. There is a variety of treatments including medication, diet and exercise. Causes of type 2 include many factors such as family history, age, pregnancy, physical inactivity, poor diet, etc.

Here's a few things to remember when talking about ourselves or others with diabetes....

- Diabetes of a every type is a complex, constantly changing, challenging condition. It's 24/7, with no day off.

- Everyone living with diabetes deserves to be treated with respect. If you're unsure what we are or aren't doing "right", don't judge us, just simply ask.

- A diabetes diagnosis is not a personal failure.. it takes strength, perseverance and patience to live with this condition.

- Try to avoid assuming or judging when you meet someone with diabetes... and instead lets focus on helping each other learn and to better understand.

- Taking control of diabetes and managing blood sugar is possible. Prediabetes is a warning sign, a great signal making you aware that your body's not optimally functioning. Lifestyle, support and turning basic habits into a consistent routine can reverse a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

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