Warning: Adult type 1 diabetes cases being misdiagnosed as type 2

The number of type 1 diabetes cases that are being wrongly diagnosed as type 2 diabetes is rising, according to a recent article from CBS News.

Most of the 26 million Americans who have the condition are type 2 diabetics, but a wrongful diagnosis can be dangerous - even deadly.

Adult diagnoses are often type 2

Type 2 diabetes is often called adult-onset diabetes because it does not appear until lifestyle factors like obesity or lack of exercise predispose a person to the disease. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that requires patients to take insulin injections in order to survive; no amount of dietary changes or exercise can help.

And while adults are often diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, more and more of them actually have type 1, the article states. Pennsylvania resident Marc Bieber's type 2 diabetes diagnosis did not respond to conventional treatment, and he found out dangerously late than he has type 1 diabetes instead.

“The last time I left the hospital I had a tremor in my hand and my speech is kind of slurred now,” Bieber said.

Signs and symptoms

When type 2 diabetes doesn't respond to pills, or if a patient's blood sugar doesn't stabilize, it could indicate that type 1 is present. Other symptoms include high blood sugar with weight loss.

“Occasionally, someone will come in and they don’t have the classic features of someone with type two,” Dr. Jennifer Holst told CBS News. “Some reports show up to 10 percent of people who develop diabetes as an adult could have a type one diabetes.”

These patients might not have a family history of diabetes, but the danger is still present. Chronically high blood sugar can cause organ damage and heart problems.

“Sometimes people can live five or 10 years without getting into major trouble before the diagnosis is made,” Dr. Holst said. “But things are just not going well.”

Source: CBS News

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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