Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

Q:

I read in the archives that Type 2 can become Type 1. I was first diagnosed in 1978 as "adult onset" (age 33). At that time oral medicaiton failed to have an effect on bs readings, so I began taking daily shots.In the early 90's my doctor stated that he believed I was Type 2, but now is convinced I am Type I. Since then I have been on the insulin pump.

My question, is it likely that I moved from Type 2 to 1, or is it more likely I was Type 1 since 1978? Your answer does have some implications for me.

A:

One of the definitions for Type I -- the most crucial -- is that one must take insulin. Without it, death will occur. This implies that the pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Some people with diabetes have been told they are Type I, when they are actually a "I.5". This means that there is still insulin output, but they may appear as a Type I and require insulin. Much research is underway for effective islet cell transplant. Meanwhile, a goal would be to achieve as low an insulin-requiring dose as possible.

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