Diabetes Basics

Are You a Noncompliant Diabetic?

Does it make you angry by my asking if you are a noncompliant diabetic? I didn’t mean to do that by asking you that in the title of this essay. I just wanted to grab your attention.

Getting angry is as unproductive as called us noncompliant or a diabetic. In fact, a new study in Hormones and Behavior shows that when we get angry, our heart rate and arterial tension increase along with other psychobiological changes. So please relax and read on.

No doctor ever dared call me noncompliant, but plenty have labeled me a diabetic. Those terms don’t make me angry — any more. But I don’t like them at all and am doing my best to stomp them out.

As a writer, words are important to me. As a positive person I try my best to avoid these “negative cues.”

This morning a friend mentioned another negative cue that health professionals sometimes use to describe the way we lead our lives. I hadn’t thought of this before, and that conversation is what prompted this essay.

“How are you managing your diabetes?” is the common clinical phrase that they throw at us. While to speak of managing doesn’t appear negative on its face, it really is. It focuses on our burden.

Likewise, I talk all the time about controlling diabetes. I’m now going to try to stop doing that.

The positive way to ask the question is whether we are living our lives boldly and fully. That’s a lot more than a dry, narrow emphasis on management or control.

Six years ago I first wrote about these and other “incorrect diabetes terms” at www.mendosa.com/incorrect_terms.htm in an article with that title. I wrote there that many people who have diabetes actively resist being labeled as a diabetic, as if we were an illness. A correspondent writes, “What I give as an example to doctors and other technical people is: If a person has hemorrhoids, does that make that person one?”

If you have diabetes but aren’t a diabetic or a hemorrhoid, I think that you might enjoy exploring my earlier article about the other words and phrases that our language would be better off without.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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