News stories that highlight the growing Type 2 epidemic but not making the distinction between Type 1 & Type 2

Yesterday our local NBC station aired their "Healthlink" feature.  One of the stories was about diabetes, which I know will usually be about T2.  As I predicted to my wife, it was about the growing T2 problem, what is causing it, etc.  They had the typical info about poor eating habits, lack of exercise, ethnicity, and a few others.

What got my blood boiling was that they NEVER mentioned the difference between T1 & T2.  The implication was that T1 is caused by poor lifestyle choices.  I immediately sent an email to the station objecting to the lack of distinction.  The following is a portion of my response:

"As I mentioned, Type 1 Diabetes involves the failure of the pancreas to produce insulin.  Without making the distinction in your Healthlink stories, many people are led to believe that the cause of Type 1 Diabetes is also promoted by excessive weight, lack of exercise or lifestyle.  To put it bluntly, how can a 6 month baby, a two year old toddler or a 1st grader be suffering from excessive weight gain or lack of exercise?  Type 1 Diabetes is caused by the acute and abrupt failure of the pancreas."

I am wondering how you would respond to such a news feature?  Was I being too sensitive?  I appreciate your comments.



I don't think you were being to sensitive at all. I think that this is an issue that bothers almost all type one's. Additionally, I would imagine a lot of type 2's are bothered by this kind of reporting, especially if their diabetes was not a result of a lifestyle choice. 

That being said, the fact of the matter is that the world really doesn't give a hoot. Many people on this board have mentioned how they didn't know or care to know the difference between type one and type two until they themselves became connected with diabetes. The best thing to do, is to continue to educate and explain the differences to people. Even if NBC does not make a statement on the air pertaining to your letter, at least the individual who reads it will get some information.

Some individuals have proposed a name change to truly separate and distinguish type one from type two. This has created a debate among the diabetic community. If you do a search at the top of the page for 'name change' you can read all about it.


Bravo Rich!!!!!!  Let us know if they respond.

I've often thought that I should write a form letter to email to newspapers, news stations, etc when I see stories than don't differentiate the two, in order to educate people and hope they'll fix the problem next time.

But ... I've been too lazy to write one. Anyone have a form letter to post that we could all start sending to news outlets? Thanks!

I think Dan's right, on several counts. I myself have a lot of type 2 diabetics in my family, on both sides. I've always made it a point to keep my weight down and watch what I eat, and make the kids learn the value of activity - but otherwise I don't think about it much. Until my daughter was diagnosed as type 1, I think I'd pretty much forgotten that there was a type 1 - as I'd had absolutely no interaction with anyone who has type 1. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was more that I was just oblivious. So I guess it's not really fair for me to expect others to care too much. My basic goal is to make sure anyone who is EVER alone with my daughter understands at least the very basics - if she looks/acts weird, make her test. If she seems less than fully conscious and can't test, shoot the emergency frosting into her mouth and call me ASAP. If she's not better right away, call the paramedics. Really, there's not much else I can do. I can't expect her dance teacher to know how to test her, for example. That said, it's less of an issue than I make it seem because with the exception of school, I am rarely more than 30 feet from her during any extracurricular activities.

As far as the reaction of people who don't know the difference. I find that I'm pretty good at explaining type 1 in a nutshell; "it's not the same as the typical diabetes you're used to hearing about. She has to take insulin 24/7 and anytime she eats because her body doesn't produce it. She can eat whatever she wants as long as she tests and counts her carbs". I find that in 99% of circumstances, this is all I need to say.

I do not think you were being too sensitive at all!  I really hate all the assumptions made around diabetes.  Like many things in life, people need to be educated and I think it is wonderful that you took the initiative to send that letter.  The media, especially the news, can be a great tool to learn about issues in the world around us but it is only great if they are reporting the facts.