50 Shades of Diabetes

I used to think diabetes was so simple.  There’s Type 1 or Type 2; treat one with insulin, the other with diet and exercise; no big deal, easily controlled.  How very wrong I was.

When I tell people I have diabetes, the first they ask is “Which one?”.  Good question.  I don’t know.  I don’t fall neatly into either category and nobody has an answer for me.  I saw my endocrinologist last week and she had nothing to tell me. My levels are fairly stable, but are starting to spike more with some things I eat (ie pizza – damn you tasty goodness!).  I tested negative for some of the markers, but she’s still sending me for more tests.  Other than that, just keep monitoring and we’ll talk more next time.  Awesome.  Thanks.  Glad I took so much time out of my day for such valuable information.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my blood is stable without insulin or any meds at all, but I still want to know what’s going on so I have an idea of what to expect.  Will I have to go back on insulin?  Will I need oral meds?  Can I get away without anything for the foreseeable future?  It’s the not knowing that drives me nuts.

So I started reading and researching, looking for as much information as I can.  And as it turns out, I’m not the only one.

Diabetes is NOT black and white.  And it’s way more than 50 Shades of Grey.

Insert token reference to popular book – Check!

Turns out, there’s more than just Type 1 and Type 2.  Ready for the list?

Type 1.5 or LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) – a form of Type 1, diagnosed in adults, it is still caused by an autoimmune attack, but has a much slower onset than typical Type 1.  Once diagnosed, it can be years before a person becomes insulin dependent, although it’s a much shorter time frame.  According to Wikipedia, the time until insulin dependance can be anywhere from 3-12 years after diagnosis.  In some cases it can be managed with diet and exercise at the onset, although oral meds and initial insulin are more common forms of early treatment.  It’s thought that some cases of atypical Type 2 diagnoses may actually be a form of LADA.

MODY (Mature Onset Diabetes of the Young) – according to Wikipedia (obviously my favourite info source) this is a type caused by a gene mutation, and therefore has a much higher hereditary link.  It exhibits many of the same symptoms and progressions as Type 2, but tends to occur earlier in life.  And there’s not just one type.  There’s ten!  The most  common being MODY-2 and MODY-3.  It is actually a very rare diagnosis, with only 1-2% of people diagnosed with diabetes are confirmed MODY.  Similar to LADA, it can be treated with both oral meds and/insulin therapy.

And that’s just the most common ones!  From what I’ve been reading, lots of people have different symptoms, treatments, and diagnoses.  There’s also a difference between insulin deficient and insulin resistant diabetes!  So very complex, and lots and lots of grey.  Good times.  Even in those with a confirmed diagnosis, treatments and management vary and what works for one does not work for another.  A common theme in the DOC is Your Diabetes May Vary (YDMV) and that is 100% true.  Nothing is the same and everyone is different.  Which is what makes this disease such a bitch.

PS: Please remember I am NOT a doctor and this should not be taken as true medical information or advice.  I got my info from Wikipedia for crying out loud! This is just me trying to organize thoughts in my own head. So always talk to your doctor and management team about any changes you’d like to make or to get more info.

3 thoughts on “50 Shades of Diabetes

  1. I knew some of that but had no idea about the rest. Goodness, even those of us in the know aren’t really in the know. I think, instead of asking people what type they are, as soon as we hear diabetes we should just give them a hug.

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