Secret Diabetes

Diabetes patients who keep their disease a secret are putting their health at risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Diabetes should be nothing to be ashamed of. If you have the disease, taking care of yourself is more important than other people knowing that you are sick.

Yet many people still hide the fact that they have diabetes, putting their health at risk.

Many diabetes patients keep their condition a secret because they are afraid of discrimination, bullying, losing job opportunities, or having people think they have an unhealthy diet. These patients often miss insulin injections or put off testing their blood sugar because they do not want to draw attention to themselves.

"Diabetes is serious, do not hide from it."

These findings come from a recent survey conducted by Diabetes UK.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, says that it is important to find out why so many people with diabetes hide their condition from others. It is hard enough learning to manage the disease, she says, without adding the physical and mental pressure caused by keeping it a secret.

Young adds that patients need their friends, family, and employers to recognize how common diabetes is and how serious it can become if those patients do not get support managing their disease.

More than 3,700 diabetics responded to the survey. One out of every three diabetics had hidden, or were still hiding, their diabetes from people around them. Half of those patients said that keeping their diabetes a secret affected how they managed the disease. More than one third of these patients said that hiding their disease impacted their physical and emotional health.

Of those patients who kept their diabetes secret, 27 percent did so because they were afraid of discrimination or bullying. Fifty-nine percent said they hid their condition at work, and 56 percent said they kept their disease a secret from their friends.

Patients in the survey said they often missed their insulin injections or delayed testing their blood sugar levels if they were hiding their disease. This is potentially very dangerous because poorly managed blood sugar levels can increase the risk of both long-term and short-term complications of diabetes.

Young concludes that all people with diabetes should have support dealing with their disease. Patients may better manage their diabetes and lower their risk of life-threatening complications if they simply know that they have someone to talk to.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 13, 2011
Last Updated:
June 13, 2011