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This Diabetes-Related Viral Tweet Shows How Clueless People Can Be

PSA: Try not to ask people with diabetes to skip checking their blood sugar, adjusting their insulin pump, or injecting insulin because you think it’s ~gross~.

Posted on February 17, 2018, at 4:01 p.m. ET

Type 1 diabetes — although treatable — is a deadly and dangerous illness. / Via

Without insulin injections or an insulin pump, people with type 1 are in serious trouble. And in fact, if they accidentally get too much insulin, that’s ALSO life-threatening. So for people with type 1 diabetes it’s a fact of life to spend time every day checking blood sugar and managing insulin. Actually, it IS life.

Only about 5–10% of people with diabetes in the US have type 1, and it’s a totally different disease from type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that essentially destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that shuttles blood sugar (which rises after you eat) into cells to be used as energy.

Don’t take your pancreas for granted. When it’s working, the pancreas does this job naturally for you every day, keeping blood sugar — which, BTW, is a hideous poison at high levels — in the safe range.

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but it often occurs in childhood. So if you see a teen or young adult using insulin, they probably have type 1. (Although type 2, which used to happen almost exclusively in people over 45, now occurs more often in children and teens, and some people can have a combo of both types. So don’t assume.)

Meredith Barnes, a first-year at Texas Tech University, has had type 1 diabetes for 11 years. So when a classmate gave her a hard time about injecting insulin in class, she shared on Twitter.

gave myself my insulin shot yesterday in class & the girl next me said “can you like not do that right now” um no debra i’d like to live thx

A similar tweet then went viral, with 115,000 retweets and nearly half a million likes. And the thread is a great lesson in what not to say to someone with diabetes.

Bravo / Via

For example, try not to ask people to shut off their pump because it’s beeping. It’s not a cell phone y'all!

@AlyiahGonzales @mercurytommo @viccsilver @squashkittens @sophiamarianna1 @SamClark_23 One time my pump beeped duri…

CBS / Via

And please, please, please don’t make rude comments.

@WesBrady @SamClark_23 Ive tested my sugar or given a shot in public and had people (strangers and people I know!)…

Let these people live. LITERALLY.

@alisonkate12 @OrbingPunk @WesBrady Its stupid, but their excuse is always like "needles bother me" or something li…

And if you are thinking “do they have to do that here?” the answer is YES.

@antdp425 @SamClark_23 Once someone asked me "Do you need to do that here?" while I was at McD's

If you find it "disgusting," it's simple: DON'T WATCH.

@hopethehippie @AlyiahGonzales @mercurytommo @viccsilver @squashkittens @sophiamarianna1 @SamClark_23 I was at work…

And try not to ask them to take their pump off.

@SamClark_23 My dads type 1 and when he was told to go through the X-Ray machine for TSA he told them it messed wit…

If anything, these are actually great opportunities to learn some things about diabetes, whether a person has type 1, gestational (which happens during pregnancy), or type 2, which is the most common type and may or may not be treated with insulin.

@iamdanjapan @hopethehippie @AlyiahGonzales @mercurytommo @viccsilver @squashkittens @sophiamarianna1 @SamClark_23…

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.