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7 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with Type 1 Diabetes

Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD on October 21, 2015Written by The Healthline Editorial Team on October 21, 2015

If you have diabetes, you know that what others say about your health isn’t always right. And, not to mention, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are oftentimes confused for one another. Your family and friends may think their words of wisdom are helpful, when they’re really hurtful.

We asked people who are living with type 1 diabetes to share the most bothersome or annoying things people they know have said about the disease. Here’s a sampling of what those people said … and what they could’ve said instead.

things not to saythings to say instead

One of the biggest misunderstandings about type 1 diabetes is what causes it. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 isn’t caused by environmental factors like high cholesterol levels, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle. The exact causes of type 1 diabetes are unknown. It’s best not to guess or make assumptions about your friend’s health history. Do your research, and ask them questions if they seem open to it.

things not to saythings to say instead

Type 1 diabetes affects the pancreas and blood glucose levels, not body weight. Don’t be surprised if your friend can outrun you on the track: They may be in better shape than you, despite having type 1.

things not to saythings to say instead

Meal planning is top priority for someone living with type 1 diabetes. Something as simple as going out for ice cream after dinner or grabbing popcorn at the movie theater can wreak havoc on your friend’s glucose levels. While you certainly don’t need to manage your friend’s eating schedule, a friendly reminder if you have that type of relationship can show that you care.

things not to saythings to say instead

With more than 1.25 million Americans living with the disease, type 1 diabetes isn’t something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. If your friend doesn’t think twice about testing their blood sugar or giving themselves an insulin shot in public, then you shouldn’t either. Rather, be thankful that they’re taking care of their health rather than neglecting it.

things not to saythings to say instead

Having type 1 diabetes doesn’t mean your friend can’t enjoy even the sweetest things in life. Cake, cookies, and ice cream are desserts that everyone should eat in moderation.

things not to saythings to say instead

Having to take insulin shots multiple times a day isn’t easy, and your friend knows it. Be grateful that you don’t have to go through this hardship, and provide support if your friend seems to be looking for it.

things not to saythings to say instead

You know the saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Comparing cancer with diabetes isn’t helpful or funny to anyone. It’s best to offer yourself as a shoulder to lean on than to talk about your friend’s future.

Do you, a friend, or a family member have diabetes? Stay in touch and connected with our Living with Diabetes community on Facebook.

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