Should Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different names?

By Anonymous Latest Reply 2015-02-12 18:56:52 -0600
Started 2013-07-31 13:30:31 -0500

I have had a lot of encounters with people that don't know what either one is. I have Type 1, and quite frankly I find it absurd how often people don't understand what either one is, including doctors.

When I went into the hospital my a1c was 17% and my sugar was at 800. I am a healthy 25 year old male. I have made a living out of taking people backpacking, hiking, rock climbing. I weighed 112 pounds and looked emaciated. Nothing about me was type 2.

The ER doctor handed me a sheet of paper he printed off the internet about type 2 diabetes so I could read about my new diagnosis. This was a medical professional, with a lot of training. I spent one night in the hospital and they let me go home the next day while my sugars were still in the 400s. Before they let me go I saw an endocrinologist. My mom, a nurse, asked her, "how are they sure its type 2?". Her response, "Does it really matter?". The diabetes educator came to see me before I left to let me know I would probably just need to take oral medication, and that I would be "just fine".

My MD saw me the next day and let me know she thought they were totally wrong. She was certain I was a type 1. Of course she sent me to a GOOD endocrinologist and I got the proper diagnosis. It is scary how many people are affected by this, and even professionals can not make simple distinctions.

If people are too ignorant to understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 maybe it would help if they were not both called diabetes? Maybe I am thinking about this too hard, but I wanted to share this with people. I assume others may have similar experiences or some good opinions to share.

10 replies

_Sean 2015-02-12 18:56:52 -0600 Report

No one knows what kind I have right now. I now see a doctor that is well versed in diabetes (he has it himself) and believes I'm not type 1. Maybe something in between 1 and 2. My pancreas is back to producing almost a normal amount of insulin. He said the insult (high blood sugars during diagnosis) to my body could have made the production levels abnormally low.

Sopies Grandma
Sopies Grandma 2015-02-12 18:40:59 -0600 Report

a year ago I was told I was ty2 and none of the oral meds they gave me worked, I ended up in the ICU for a few days, found out that I am ty 1.5 LADA, on insulin. I am confused about how the Diabetic doctors and all the medical people can get it soooo wrong. Its pretty confusing.

Dr John
Dr John 2013-08-25 07:57:21 -0500 Report

Unfortunately, your experience is far too common. When I went to medical school (35 years goo), type 2 was referred to as "metabolic syndrome" and type 1 was referred to as "diabetes."

Angie Type 1
Angie Type 1 2013-08-11 12:17:03 -0500 Report

I definitely think it should be called 2 separate names and be treated as such. I have a great endocrinologist "Now" but have gone through some pretty "sad" general practitioners for my care of colds, ear infections, belly aches. I started to ask when looking for one…how many Type 1 diabetic patients they have I also don't usually want a doctor fresh out of med school. They need to have been around and treated Type 1's because when we get infections and other illnesses we tend to get them more extreme than someone without diabetes. Our immune systems can't fight it as well. I had an ENT tell me to wait until Monday when I called with a severe ear infection on a Saturday. By Monday it was bleeding and ruptured. By the time I had the appt. he took one look at it..called his colleague to look and wanted to admit me to hospital…it was so infected. I've had diabetes 25 years now and you really need to find "competent" doctors who will listen to you and have experience in Diabetes Care and not just talking the talk!

kimfing 2013-08-02 19:47:36 -0500 Report

My husband, who has been type 1 for 30+ yrs, wanted me to tell you his thought: He assumes everyone in the medical profession is an idiot until they prove him wrong! :)

Type1Lou 2013-08-01 19:19:36 -0500 Report

A rose by any other name is still a rose…(apologies to Shakespeare.) Even with different names, whose to say that the Bozos who initially gave you the Type 2 diagnosis would get it right? I've found that the doctors don't always get it right and we have to learn as much as we can about our diabetes to help manage our condition. A C-peptide blood test can determine whether or not any insulin at all is being produced. If no insulin is produced, you are a Type 1. What a relief that your own MD was on the right track! Wishing you well!

gapeach59 2013-08-01 16:48:55 -0500 Report

It is very confusing to me I was newly diagnosed with type 2 and take 2 metformin tablets a day . I am still trying to educate myself via the internet and that why I joined this site yesterday

Jeanette Terry
Jeanette Terry 2013-08-01 15:10:12 -0500 Report

I have often wondered why medical professionals know so little about diabetes and especially diabetes care. I do have a good endocrinologist who I like very much, but still he doesn't really know what it is like to live with diabetes on a daily basis or what to tell me when I have questions about daily care sometimes.

It seems that with diabetes on the rise they would focus on it a little more in medical school and require all medically trained professionals to know at least the signs and the difference between the two. It could mean life or death for some. That seems like a pretty good reason to know what you are talking about when it comes to diagnosing someone.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-08-01 11:49:36 -0500 Report

It isn't ignorance diabetes is not a one size fits all disease. The problem is that the initial diagnosis can be hard to ascertain based on the person and test results which can vary at different times. Type 1, the pancras does not make insulin on its own. Type 2 the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin .

My doctor didn't tell me whether I was T1 or T2 until 3 weeks after the initial diagnosis. He wanted to be sure so he did blood test and A1C test every week. It was finally determined that I was T2. I had to test once a day. One week in the Morning the next in the Evening. I kept a log. However he also started me on oral medication immediately.

This is why we as diabetics have to educate ourselves about the disease. It isn't going to change the fact that you are T1or T2 but at least I learned more about it.