Does language matter with diabetes? Take these questions as an example. Do you feel like you fail your blood sugar test? What if I told you it’s not a test? What if you called it checking you blood sugar to make appropriate diabetes management decisions? You can really fail a check.
Change Your Diabetes Language…Change Your Attitude
With diabetes, language matters, and that includes both the language you use referring to yourself and the language you use when referring to other people with diabetes (not “diabetics”). See if changing your language changes your attitude.
Normal (referring to a person)
Blood sugar test
Hi, I’m Toby Smithson here with DiabetesEveryDay. No worries, I’m planning on explaining what those words have to do with my video today.
When you were a child or as matter of fact even as an adult, did you ever have someone say something to you that hurt your feelings? “I bet Tommy can’t kick the ball to that net because he’s so small.” The words we choose can make a huge difference on how we feel.
For those of us who have diabetes, we know and understand that diabetes is a challenging condition that involves many variables because our lifestyle choices really matter. And, let’s face it, lifestyle happens every second of the day. At moments we may feel this just isn’t fair. I hear you.
I want to share some information on how we can change the language we use about our diabetes that is really helped me with my mindset…feelings about my diabetes. This is so important that the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists have a position paper on this topic along with educational materials.
Be Sure To Check Out – Diabetes Can Make a “Bad Day”
Words that can feel hurtful or restrictive:
- Normal (referring to a person)
- Blood sugar test
Words that are neutral and non-judgmental:
- A person with diabetes/Person living with diabetes/ Person who has diabetes
- A person who doesn’t have diabetes
- Blood sugar checking/checking
- Healthy Eating plan
- Don’t define yourself or others by your condition
- Using the term “Normal” is not ok when comparing people
- It’s not a test….it’s us checking in with our body
- Don’t think of being compliant with some rule….instead be engaged or participating in your health
- We can’t control blood glucose….we can manage our health
- Diet sounds restrictive and temporary…. A healthy eating plan is flexible and forever
Yes, language truly matters with diabetes. We talk a lot about taking small steps to achieve a big change. I hope you can try using some of these positive words in place of the negative words related to diabetes. I suggest starting with referring to yourself as a person with diabetes instead of a diabetic. You are much more than a diabetic. Let me know how it goes. Until next time, cheers to your health.
Don’t forget to take a look at our most frequently asked questions.
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