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Diabetes: Stigma, Blame and Shame

Diabetes is on the rise in the U.S. While there is awareness about the physical complications of the disease, few healthcare providers and people without diabetes take into account the social stigma attached to diabetes and the toll it takes on patients.

Many people living with diabetes feel blamed and shamed after diagnosis. Society accuses them of bringing the disease to themselves or their children. According to experts, the negative perceptions lead to worse health outcomes and greater distress on the patient. In turn, these lead to increased complications.

Few other diseases carry the social stigma of diabetes. For example, there is no blame attached to cancer. Yet, as many as 76 percent of people with Type 1 and 61 percent of those with Type 2 say they’ve experienced stigma. Forms of stigma include negative portrayals in the media, criticism from family and friends and personal attacks on social media. Even healthcare providers are guilty of stigmatizing their patients.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stigma attached to the disease and educate health providers and the public about this growing issue.

Read a more in-depth article about diabetes stigma, blame, and shame in THIS post from Drugwatch.

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