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June 25, 2021

Diabetics face discrimination, suffer emotional distress

Diabetes suppliesA new study reports that 15 per cent of people living with diabetes have felt discriminated against due to their disease.

And one in four Canadians with diabetes experiences great emotional distress.

As a mother of two children with Type 1 diabetes (also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) I have to admit it isn't an easy haul for them.

As a matter of fact, it is a tough world out there not only for people living with diabetes, but also for those who are living with other diseases and disabilities.

The global study, Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs 2 (Dawn2), revealed that 12 per cent of diabetes health care professionals surveyed cited concern over discrimination and they also identified a "major need" for improvement in the acceptance of people with diabetes as equal members of society.

From the time you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes you are already behind the game.

As you get older, you start worrying about how you are going to support yourself and your disease.

Will your job have medical benefits? What happens if I lose my job? Do I choose to put food on the table for my family or sacrifice my health by not purchasing the diabetic supplies I need?

Diabetes supplies, insulin pump supplies and insulin are costly. People with diabetes carry a huge burden just worrying about finances and the ability to support themselves and their disease.

According to a report by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), 57 per cent of Canadians do not follow their prescribed therapy because they cannot afford their medications, supplies and devices and can therefore compromise their diabetes management.

Approximately 80 per cent of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart disease or stroke.

Life expectancy of people with Type 1 diabetes may be shortened by as much as 15 years; and those with Type 2 by 5 to 10 years, according to CDA statistics.

That in itself is enough to cause emotional distress.

In grade school, students wonder why the child in their class has to prick their finger with a lancing device and suck the blood up in a glucometer before each snack or meal. And why do they get juice and a snack when we don't?

They also wonder if they can "catch" the disease.

And people wonder why you have syringes and a sharp box.

While diabetes is no laughing matter, it does help keep your sanity with online community forums like tumblr where people share their views and tips on the disease and even lighten up your day with some amusing anecdotes.

Sir Michael Hirst, president of the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF), says, "Through DAWN2, people with diabetes and their families have been given a voice. In this day and age, no one should face discrimination because of diabetes and people with diabetes have the right to live full, active lives and have an equal role in society.

"We will use the results of DAWN2 to educate decision-makers to make changes that are desperately needed to improve the quality of life for people with diabetes."

Other key findings showed that 12 per cent of Canadians with diabetes suffered possible depression; and 27 per cent of family members indicated a significant burden on the family related to the disease.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Have you or someone you know encountered discrimination due to diabetes and/or suffered emotional distress? 




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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...