British Politician Perfects the Type 1 Eye-Roll

Home Secretary Theresa May can’t contain her derision upon hearing a colleague fail to make a distinction between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.



How often do you have to keep from rolling your eyes when someone mixes up Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes in front of you?

Many people affected by Type 1 have found ways to be as diplomatic as possible when they hear the two conditions confused, perhaps only betraying a brief flicker of annoyance in the course of a conversation. During a recent U.K. political debate, however, one such flicker of annoyance was caught on camera for all the world to see.

The ruling Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron had announced plans to implement a tax on sugary beverages in its new budget proposal, and an official was discussing the plan in Parliament. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (a chief finance minister), was speaking on the need for such a tax and the budget plan. In what appears to have been a bit of stagecraft, Prime Minister Cameron had stationed himself behind Osborne, and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to the left.

There might have been a reason for that. In 2013, May had revealed she had been diagnosed late in life with Type 1 diabetes. Since then, she has been very open in discussing her adjustment to life with Type 1. Cameron might have thought that having a minister with diabetes in the picture was a good idea when discussing a sugar tax to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

The trouble came when Osborne started discussing why it was important to prevent obesity. “Obesity drives disease,” he said. “It increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.”

Upon hearing this, May looked up and clearly mouthed the words, “Type 2 diabetes.” She then smiled for a few seconds while staring in Osborne’s direction. You can watch it here:

The action begins around 0:35.

For just a few brief moments, her face was a perfect mixture of mirth and resignation. Think of it the next time someone mixes up Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, and see if you can mimic May’s wry smile.

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.