New Survey: Stigma About Type 1 Diabetes Causes, Treatment Prevalent

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Survey from the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance Found That Most Americans Think Type 1 is Preventable, Easily Treatable

The majority of Americans think that type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition with no known cause or treatment, can be actively prevented.

Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, is distinct but often confused with Type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease driven by lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. A survey from the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance revealed that 77 percent of respondents believe that a healthy lifestyle reduces the likelihood of getting type 1 diabetes, and half believe that “different lifestyle choices” could have saved people with type 1 from developing the disease. Further, a third blamed the parents of children with type 1 diabetes for causing their condition, and 45 percent cite “too much sugar” as a reason for developing type 1.

“The misconceptions about type 1 diabetes create a culture of victim-blaming, which is unsubstantiated since the cause of type 1 diabetes is genetic,” said Phil Shaw, general manager of the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance. “This mentality interferes with funding a cure. If the general public views type 1 as a treatable, manageable disease and not a potentially fatal chronic condition, the sense of urgency felt by donors will remain low.”

JDCA research shows that nonprofit funding priorities reveal the same lack of urgency. The JDRF, American Diabetes Association, Joslin Diabetes Center and Diabetes Research Institute Foundation took in nearly $400 million in donations in 2012. Only 2 percent of these contributions went toward a cure that can be achieved by 2025; the rest went toward cures 100 or more years away, prevention research and other expenses.

Awareness about the severity of type 1 remains low, even among parents. Only a quarter of parents with children under 18 have discussed type 1 with their child’s doctor, while 51 percent of parents discussed asthma. Additionally, parents placed more emphasis on conditions like autism and heart problems, even as 80 children and adults per day are diagnosed with type 1.

The JDCA maintains that with proper shifts in research funding, a type 1 cure will be developed within the next decade. A near-term, practical cure would not completely eliminate the disease, but would enable children, adults and parents to cope with a type 1 diagnosis and lead near-normal lives.

“During Diabetes Awareness Month, we’re asking all Americans to consider the impact that type 1 has or would have on family and friends,” said Shaw. “Next, take action. By donating to the proper research projects and demanding that charities show results, we can vote with our dollars and make the truths about type 1 diabetes and its impact known.”

The survey was conducted in September 2013 and has a five point margin of error. More information on the JDCA and tips for donors can be found at

About the JDCA
The JDCA is an independent analyst of the type 1 diabetes charitable universe and brings a business-like perspective to help donors focus research toward a practical cure. The mission of the JDCA is to achieve a type 1 practical cure before 2025 by steering donor contributions to the most effective charities.

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Kikora Mason
Walker Sands Communications
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