My name is Marijane Dicello, and I am with the Aquia Evening Lions. I also happen to be a Type 1 diabetic and have been making observations about how the Lions Club has been talking about diabetes in their fight to combat this debilitating disease.

One observation is that at the international level of the information being provided on diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2 are accurate on the website ( ).  Most of the information provided is aimed at teens, when the information should be aimed to all age groups.  Additionally, the information should include when the information was collected.

Another observation is that even though the Lion’s international website has information on both types, I have learned that most of the information that is being distributed is information on Type 2 diabetes.  It is being generalized under a single category, without specifying which specific type or what the “at risk” check lists are for.  Many diabetes-related events that the Lions clubs sponsor are related only to Type 2 diabetes.  The general population then starts to track it as singular. This to all other diabetics, not just type 1, is very dangerous and can sometimes be deadly. The media has contributed to this mind set of singular diabetes that is creating stereotypes that are neither accurate nor helpful.

To be more specific is to raise more awareness.  Thinking that Type 1 and Type 2 are similar isn’t correct. They are two separate types of diabetes and each have their own symptoms and treatments, just like gestational diabetes is separate, Type 1 and Type 2 need to be looked at as separate.

There are actually 7 different types of diabetes, but most people only know about 2 or 3. Otherwise people link them altogether as one and call it just diabetes with no specification, which is misleading and could be dangerous. The 7 different types are:

  • Type 1 – no insulin production – with no known causes just theories
  • Type 2 – produces insulin but is resistant – has many causes to include genetics, obesity, and poor diet.
  • Type 1.5 / LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) – adults who start with type 2 and end up with type 1
  • Double Diabetes – where you have Type 1 but are still resistant to the insulin
  • Type 3 – Alzheimer’s caused by insulin resistance in the brain
  • Type 4 – solely age related insulin resistance
  • Gestational – found only during pregnancy and disappears after childbirth

Every one of these Types is different and treated and managed differently. Without the proper awareness and information, most think about and even treat diabetes solely as Type 2 because that is the Type which is most talked about. There are even people with Type 1 who are either uneducated/newly diagnosed who think they know better than to listen to their doctors, or who have uninformed doctors that will think they can control or even reverse their diabetes with just diet and exercise. They think that they don’t have to take their insulin because of misinformation. I have seen stories and met families that have had people die because the person tried to control Type 1 diabetes with the Type 2 treatment of diet and exercise.

Another problem non-specification causes is misdiagnosis. If you aren’t specific on things like which Type causes what symptoms, as each one has different set of symptoms, or that testing is essential in diagnosis beyond an A1C, then Type 1’s get diagnosed as Type 2’s if they are even marginally obese. Type 2’s can get diagnosed as Type 1’s if they’re Type 2 for any other reason other than obesity, this can cause both near deaths and death. Type 1’s are sometimes diagnosed as having the flu or having an eating disorder. Type 2’s can also be diagnosed as having an eating disorder instead of having diabetes. All of this can be caused by misinformation and unawareness.

Another observation is that some believe that the leading cause of death from diabetes is heart attack or stroke, which is only true in those about 30 years or older and have been uncontrolled for many of those years.  For those under 30, it usually consists of “dead in bed syndrome” (hypoglycemia unawareness at night), complications from delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, diabetes burnout, or even peer presser to be normal. These can apply to all Types not just one.

My goal is to help my fellow Lions in their goal to combat diabetes and the complications it brings to a person’s life and that of their family.  My hope is that this article will reflect that there is more to diabetes than the general information that is out there and the impact vagueness can have. As an organization we need to be vigilant about the information we have and are supplying.  My understanding is that we are trying to raise awareness and educate about all Types of diabetes and trying to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The more specific we are with our guidance and information, the more people we can help to navigate the very tricky waters of diabetes.




Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

Lions Clubs International News
Connect with Us Online