Can You Call Someone “Diabetic”?


Have you ever wondered if it’s okay to refer to someone as “diabetic?” It’s a controversial topic that has a lot of people talking. Some people think it’s totally fine, while others argue that it can be stigmatizing and reduce people to their medical condition. So, let’s dive in and figure out what’s the best approach.

Why the Term “Diabetic” is Controversial: 

So, the reason why people are debating whether to use the term “diabetic” is that some people find it stigmatizing. They believe that using a label like “diabetic” can be harmful and perpetuate negative stereotypes. Plus, some people with diabetes don’t like the term and prefer to be referred to using person-first language, like “a person with diabetes.”

On the other hand, some people think that “diabetic” is a straightforward and accurate way to describe someone with diabetes. They say it’s used widely in medical literature and reflects the reality of living with the condition.

Respectful Language Use:

Okay, so what’s the best way to approach this? The answer is simple: ask the person with diabetes how they prefer to be referred to. Some people might be okay with “diabetic,” while others might prefer person-first language. By asking, we’re showing respect for their identity and autonomy.

If you work in healthcare, it’s especially important to use respectful language when talking to patients. As experts in the field, healthcare professionals have a responsibility to lead by example and use language that’s respectful and person-centered. This means avoiding stigmatizing language and instead using language that acknowledges the person’s individuality.


To sum it up, whether or not it’s okay to call someone “diabetic” is a tricky question. Some people find it stigmatizing, while others see it as a straightforward descriptor. The key to respectful language use is to ask the person how they prefer to be referred to and to use language that reflects their individuality. For healthcare professionals, using respectful language is extra important as it helps to build trust and positive relationships with patients. So, let’s all work together to create a world where people are valued for who they are, not just their medical conditions.