The Courier Mail covered the blaming and shaming that is
happening to people living with diabetes. By Jackie Sinnerton, The
Courier-Mail, April 28, 2018.
DIABETICS are being blamed and shamed for supposedly bringing
the life-threatening disease on to themselves.
As the condition is increasingly negatively linked to obesity
and junk food, new data highlights cruel prejudices against those
with both type 1 and 2 diabetes who cannot help their
Even those who are at a healthy weight, exercise and eat well
The Amcal 2018 Diabetes Care Review has found a quarter of
Queenslanders believe the condition is self-inflicted, one-fifth of
diabetics have faced discrimination at work - including being
passed over for promotion - and almost one-quarter have felt guilty
Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said people must resist
acting as judge and jury.
She said those with type 1 diabetes - an auto-immune condition -
had no control over their diagnoses and that diet and exercise did
not play a role in 40 per cent of type 2 cases, as it was a problem
with the pancreas.
"If you can't help, I'd ask all to at least not hurt," she
"I'm troubled but not surprised with the new findings.
"None of us know who will be the next person to be diagnosed
with type 1 diabetes so it's time we treated people living with
diabetes as we'd like to be treated ourselves."
The disease is mostly diagnosed in people aged under 25,
including children and babies, although it can strike at any
Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way
the body regulates blood sugar, or glucose.
Glucose is the fuel that feeds cells but the body needs insulin
to allow it to enter the cells.
Pharmacist James Nevile said it was important to understand how
poor emotional wellbeing could interfere with diabetes
Managing diabetes can involve taking medication - including
injecting insulin and testing blood glucose levels several times a
Claudia McGuinness, 17, knows the drill well. She was diagnosed
with type 1 diabetes eight years ago and has been the target of
prejudice and discrimination.
The Birkdale teen tells of sitting in class when her glucose
levels plummeted, and feeling very ill and scared.
"I asked the teacher if I could run to my bag outside the
classroom to get my testing kit," she said.
"He refused as he thought I was putting it on. But I was fading
fast and the only thing I could do was jump out of the classroom
window to urgently grab my kit.
"That was one of the most frightening experiences and the
teacher just had no clue how dangerous diabetes can be. That
teacher was suspended and I left the school. "
For the first couple of years Claudia was afraid of needles but
eventually learned how to inject her insulin, then at age 12 she
got a pump that attaches to her body.
"When my friends were going out to parties and socialising I
often stayed home. I didn't want to take any risks," she said.
"Sometimes people would insult me by telling me to go and eat a
big sugary doughnut - even though my type 1 has nothing to do with
eating too much sugar."
Photos of junk food would often appear in Claudia's Snapchat,
captioned "bring on diabetes".
"Most people don't know anything about diabetes," she said.
"To be honest I didn't know much about it myself in the
beginning, but these days there is so much talk about obesity and
the link that has to diabetes 2 and they get very confused and
The teenager claims she did not get a job at a fast food
restaurant because she was diabetic.
"I was told I had the job then at the end of the interview I
just added that I had diabetes," she said.
"The whole atmosphere changed and they didn't get back to