In January 2017, I was misdiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In May, I learned I was actually Type 1 after multiple trips to the Emergency Room.
In case you’re not that familiar with the differences:
Type 2 diabetes means the person is resistant to the insulin they make. (Insulin regulates blood sugar.) It is usually (but not always!) associated with being overweight. Most Type 2 diabetics only take oral medications.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, irreversible auto-immune disease that means the person has antibodies that attack the cells that make insulin, making insulin injections required.
Note: Type 1 used to be referred to as “Juvenile Diabetes,” but we now know that it can be triggered at any age. A late onset of Type 1 is also referred to as Type 1.5, or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA). LADA has also been referred to as “Double Diabetes” because patients often experience symptoms of both Type 1 and Type 2. (By the way, one additional type is Gestational Diabetes.)
As a Type 1, I average 6 finger pricks and 4 insulin injections every day. Unless science comes up with something to fix me, needles and bleeding are part of my daily life forever. I have a choice between manual injections and getting an insulin pump attached to my body. Neither sounds good, but for now, I’m on manual mode. My health is brittle, and other auto-immune diseases often accompany it. I would much rather be Type 2!
I wish that Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes had completely different names. Unfortunately, when most people hear the term “diabetes,” they automatically assume Type 2.
One of the reasons is that if you know a diabetic, they’re most likely Type 2. About 30 million people in the U.S. (almost 10% of the population) has a form of diabetes, but only 1 million of those people are Type 1.
Also, media use the term “diabetes” as a nickname for Type 2 Diabetes. With this misinformation, how would anyone know that Type 1 Diabetes is NOT related to too much sugar or not enough exercise?
Even the American Diabetes Association promotes a monolithic view of diabetes. They have a series of commercials that generalize diabetes as a disease associated with eating poorly.
- Why Do I have Diabetes? – The answers I came up with was primarily my belly fat. (See Diabetes as a Disease of Fat Toxicity). Result of That applied to Type 2, but Type 1 diabetes is NOT caused by belly fat.
- The Search for My Ideal Diabetic Diet Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – I talked about how I was going to “reverse my diabetes.” Type 1 diabetes is not reversible!
- My Diabetes Mistakes – Again, I just used diabetes as a generic term.
Well, $#@% me and the “diabetic” horse I rode in on.
To all people affected by Type 1 Diabetes, I apologize for contributing to the stereotyping! I will continue to help raise awareness about the differences.