Type 1 or Type 2?

Ask our CDE

Type 1 or Type 2?

Q: I was told I was type 2 because of my weight. I'm 39.  My bg was 440 at diagnosis, A1C 9.5.  I had trouble with my vision, weight loss without trying and excessive thirst. I was put on insulin right after diagnosis, because oral meds didn't work.  I now use Lantus and Novolog to control my blood sugars.  Last A1C was 6.2.  Am I really type 2 or type1?

A: The only way to really tell if you are Type 2 (someone who still makes insulin but their insulin does not work correctly) versus Type 1 (someone who makes little to no insulin because of an "autoimmune" disorder- a condition where the body destroys the cells that make insulin) is to have some blood work.

The types of tests that are used are C-peptide levels (shows how much insulin is being made) and antibody levels (looks to see if the body is producing the substances that destroy the insulin-producing cells).  If you are making little to no insulin, and/or have positive antibodies, you are Type 1.

Many doctors look at heavy people and automatically assume that they are type 2.  Not so!  As our population becomes heavier we are seeing more overweight persons with type 1.  Age does not always indicate which type of diabetes you have either, although most Type 1's develop the disorder as children, some do not and become Type 1 when they are adults.

However, the best way to treat diabetes when the sugar is very high is to use insulin.  Type 1, Type 2, it doesn't make any difference.  Your doctor may also add oral medications and then when your blood sugars come down try to wean you off of the insulin.  Many people do so well with the oral medications that they can stop the insulin, but some do not and have to keep taking the insulin.  Diabetes treatment is highly individualized.  Whatever is working for you currently is the best treatment.  Congratulations on your wonderful success at lowering your A1C!