Forms of Diabetes updated 11/2019
The onset of diabetes is caused by a combination of gene interaction triggered by environmental factors.
Are you experiencing excessive thirst, hunger after eating, urinating frequently, fatigue, headaches, or blurred vision? All are symptoms common to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. A series of blood tests are run to determine if your blood glucose (BG) levels are above normal. One of those tests, the HA1C, will indicate what your average BG level has been over the last three months. If >6.5 (4 -5.9 normal) diabetes is generally confirmed.
However recent research has shown that the HbA1c test, which is a daily average of BG levels, fails to diagnose the disease 73% of the time. It does not measure glycemic variations (GV) or fluctuations and should not be employed if you are diagnosed with brittle type 1 diabetes.
Several tests are run to distinguish Type 1 diabetes from Type 2: a C-peptide test, an ICA islets cell antibody test, an IAA insulin auto-antibody test and a GAD glutamic acid decarboxylase test.
If found to be Type2, your body is either not producing enough insulin or the cells of your body are insulin resistant preventing insulin from functioning normally to reduce blood glucose levels.
In type1, the body’s immune system has produced auto-antibodies which have attacked the beta cells within your pancreas resulting in an inability to produce the hormone insulin. You will require an external source of insulin by injection (using a pen or syringe) or using an insulin pump to stabilize glucose levels within an acceptable range.
As a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic, every attempt is made by health care professionals to stabilize BG levels by strict adherence to proper diet, exercise, and an insulin regimen. Failure on the part of the team to stabilize the patient’s BG levels should lead to a diagnosis as either uncontrolled Type 1 or Brittle Type 1 diabetes– a rapid shifting of BG levels either up or down in an unpredictable manner – having no set pattern. But often it does not. Rather the patient is viewed as being either non-compliant or untrustworthy.
All too often, the diagnosis of brittle diabetes occurs after several trips to the ER or after extensive hospitalization for DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) or for a decline in BG levels leading to hypoglycemia.
At that point, if your original healthcare team has failed to diagnose you with BT1D, the current recommendation is to replace your existing health care team. It becomes important to begin your search to find a doctor who meets your needs.