Type 1 Diabetes Questions and Answers

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Type 1 Diabetes Questions and Answers

Can type 2 diabetes turn into type 1 diabetes?

It’s a fairly common misconception that type 2 diabetes can eventually turn into type 1 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes is a very different condition than type 1 diabetes. Yes, both “types” of diabetes cause high blood glucose, but the causes of each type are unrelated. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system “attacks” the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Because these cells can no longer make insulin, a person with type 1 must take insulin to survive. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is a condition of insulin resistance — the body makes enough insulin but the cells can’t use it properly. Healthy food choices, regular physical activity, weight loss and medication are ways to manage type 2.

The only way for type 2 diabetes to become type 1 diabetes is if the type of diabetes is misdiagnosed. And the reality is that some people are told they have type 2 diabetes when they actually have type 1 diabetes, especially if they are adults who are overweight. In addition, there is yet another type of diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) that shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. LADA, which tends to appear in adults over the age of 30, is actually a slow but progressive form of autoimmune diabetes that eventually requires insulin injections.

What are the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes?

Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes symptoms generally appear fairly quickly (e.g., weeks or months) and are severe. Typical signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

• Constant thirst
• Frequent urination
• Increased hunger
• Blurry vision
• Unexplained weight loss
• Fatigue and weakness
• Cuts or sores that are slow to heal
• More infections than usual

Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and trouble breathing.

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Originally Published July 23, 2019
Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES

Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES

Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDCES on social media

A Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Good Measures, LLC, where she is a CDE manager for a virtual diabetes program. Campbell is the author of Staying Healthy with Diabetes: Nutrition & Meal Planning, a co-author of 16 Myths of a Diabetic Diet, and has written for  publications including Diabetes Self-Management, Diabetes Spectrum, Clinical Diabetes, the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation’s newsletter, DiabeticConnect.com, and CDiabetes.com

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