How do you deal with unwanted advice about diabetes?

by Mark Benson on November 19, 2012

How do you deal with unwanted advice about diabetes?

There are many common medical conditions today which seem to attract the attention of those who mean well but perhaps do not have the skills or the information to actually assist. However, it has to be said that diabetes is one of those conditions which seems to attract the attention of “experts” who have Googled the condition on the Internet, spotted some very different ways of tackling the problem and sometimes seem somewhat surprised when you doubt the validity of the information they are giving you!

The reality is that many people do mean well when trying to help you with regards to diabetes but how do you deal with unwanted advice where maybe you are still coming to terms with the condition?

Does everyone mean well?

When you tell friends and family about your condition there is no doubt that they will try to assist, try to support and some of them may even search the Internet for good news which may help you to look to the future. The vast majority of people who do offer advice about diabetes, no matter how bizarre and unproven it may be, do mean well and will listen to your comments but sometimes there are people who will not take no for an answer!

Reading the news does not make you an expert

If you Google diabetes type I or diabetes type II you will likely see a flurry of independent reports and research notes regarding these conditions. Some of them may suggest fairly bizarre and outlandish treatments and potential cures, others may try to push home information and advice which has been proven incorrect in years gone by and some of them may well stick to more traditional treatments and information. However, the sad fact is that reading the news on diabetes does not make you an expert, does not put you in a position to offer advice to sufferers and in some cases this can actually be dangerous and potentially misleading.

Dietary habits

If there is one area of diabetes which everybody seems to have an opinion about it has to be your dietary habits and the fact that certain foods are off the menu while others should potentially be more popular for your condition. You could ask 12 different people about helpful dietary habits for the future and the chances are that you would get 12 different answers or perhaps 12 different variations on a similar theme.

If you are diabetic the likelihood is that not only will you have spoken to your doctor but you’ll also have taken professional medical advice from those in the know. There are certain products which are borderline helpful and borderline unhelpful for diabetics, there are substances which are trapped in a grey area which needs further research but on the whole there is traditional dietary advice available which should ensure that you remain safe and healthy going forward.

Exercise regime

The very fact that obesity has a very strong link to diabetes type II is probably a subject which is discussed and brought up on numerous occasions. Comments such as “lose weight and avoid diabetes” and “more exercise will do you good” are likely heard time and time again, day in and day out by the vast majority of diabetics. Everybody seems to have an opinion, everybody seems to know what they are talking about but the reality is that while there is a strong link to obesity this is not the only way to develop diabetes!

While on the whole exercise is very healthy and very useful when looking to combat medical conditions such as diabetes, there is no point going overboard and putting yourself in potential danger. Too much exercise is unhealthy, too little exercise is unhealthy therefore you need to find a balance between these two extremes – a balance which is unique to you.

Responding to unwanted advice

There are many different ways to respond to unwanted advice and many diabetics have a particular way of either ignoring or confronting people who seem unwilling to take no for an answer. If you very politely suggest that you have looked into diabetes in great detail, have spoken to the medical professionals then this will likely be enough to quieten the vast majority of those speaking out of turn. However, you will always get some people who seem to know best, have read the latest news on diabetes and have looked at the latest research programs!

Some people prefer to confront these individuals face-to-face and will take in their advice and possibly look at the underlying supporting evidence. The likelihood is that there is little in the way of underlying supporting evidence, which is why those who do not have inside knowledge of the condition should probably think twice before offering advice!

Getting your head around diabetes

There is nothing worse than some individuals offering very detailed advice about diabetes in a manner in which seems to suggest they know what they are talking about when in reality it may not be the case. It is difficult enough getting your own head around the condition when you have been diagnosed without individuals offering their own take on what you need to do.

There are a lot of misconceptions, misinformation and downright ill-advised speculation with regards to diabetes. Governments around the world have sold diabetics short with regards to the education of the wider public, and indeed diabetics, and this is an area which needs to be reviewed as soon as possible. Very quickly a diabetes research programme can become “gospel” in the minds of some people and the positive factors can often hide the potential problems beneath the surface. There is no point in people getting your hopes up about a potential cure or some form of improved treatment when in all honesty this is not the case – or at least it is unproven as yet.


The vast majority of people will offer you advice regarding diabetes as friends and family members who are concerned about your health. Some people will attempt to blind you with science, blind you with figures and try to turn your head in specific directions with regards to treatment and cures. The reality is that those diagnosed with diabetes have access to professional medical advice as soon as the condition is discovered and the vast majority will have direct contact with their doctors on an ongoing basis.

That is not to say that you should discount totally everything you are told about diabetes but perhaps the final comment and final decision should come from those in the medical profession who have access to detailed data and have vast experience in these fields.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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