Hey, it’s Dr. Brian Mowll, The Diabetes Coach, and welcome to this installment of On Call with Dr. Mowll where I answer your questions about blood sugar and diabetes health. This week’s question comes from Helida, and Helida asked, “How can I tell what type of diabetes I have? I was originally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but I’ve been told I might have type 1 or even type 3 due to inflammation and other problems. Let’s clear this issue up. First of all Helida, there are very clear differences between type 1, type 2, and other forms of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that typically affects young adults or children, so this may start at just a year or two old, typically five, six, seven years of age, but it can be diagnosed all the way up unto young adulthood, sometimes late teen years, or early twenties. It’s characterized by destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas due to this autoimmune disorder. The body’s own immune system attacks the cells that make insulin. They’re called beta cells. When this happens, the person can no longer adequately produce insulin, so they need to inject insulin in order to keep their blood sugar levels down. When people are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, their blood sugar is often very high, up in the 500 or 600 range in some cases, and in some cases much higher.
Type 2 diabetes is due to insulin resistance. This is a condition where the pancreas makes insulin but the cells of the body, particularly the muscle and liver cells, don’t respond properly to insulin. The net effect is similar. The cells cannot take up insulin properly, the sugar builds up in the blood stream and again we develop high blood sugar, but the mechanism is very different. What happens here is because the cells are resistant to insulin, the pancreas makes more and more insulin to overcome that. So oftentimes people with type 2 or pre-diabetes, which has the same mechanism of action, have elevated blood levels of insulin. So instead of not being able to make enough, they actually make too much insulin but their cells don’t respond. For a while, the body takes all that extra sugar and puts it into the fat cells so we start to gain weight and oftentimes become overweight or obese, particularly around the midsection. Eventually, the fat cells become insulin resistant as well, and then the blood sugar really starts to rise. That’s when we’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Type 3 diabetes, which you reference in your question, actually refers to insulin resistance of the brain which is oftentimes implicated in Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There are other forms of diabetes. Type 1.5, like MODY and LADA, which stands for latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood. That’s similar to type 1, but it affects adults, and it’s much more slowly progressing.
If anything, I would guess that you either have type 2 diabetes, where your pancreas has perhaps stopped producing enough insulin, or you have latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood, if in fact you have a complicated form of diabetes at. Now, there’s some simple tests you can do. To test for autoimmune diabetes, you can do auto-antibody tests, insulin antibodies, islet cell auto-antibodies, something called GAD65 antibody. These will tell you if your immune system is mounting an offensive attack against your insulin or the insulin-producing cells of your pancreas. You can also test fasting insulin levels, and you can test an insulin response to a glucose challenge test. These tests will tell you whether or not you have autoimmune diabetes, whether it’s type 1 or LADA, or type 2 diabetes, which is typically characterized by insulin resistance.
Now, as far as having chronic inflammation and other factors, that’s very common in all forms of diameter. In fact, the genesis of the insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes if chronic, systemic inflammation that starts to make our cells insulin resistant in the periphery. Then our pancreas starts producing more insulin to overcome that resistance. That leads to fat storage and more and more insulin resistance until our body can’t control our blood sugar anymore, and our blood sugar goes up. So very common to have chronic, systemic inflammation in type 2 diabetes as well as some of these autoimmune forms of diabetes.
What we need to do first if find out what exactly you’re dealing with. We do a functional medication assessment to help find the root cause and causes of your blood sugar problems. Then we can create a plan of attack that’s going to help us figure out the best personalized solution for you.
I hope that was helpful. If you want to learn more about me and what I do, you can visit https://drmowll.com/video for a free video presentation all about finding the root causes of diabetes and blood sugar problems. You can learn more about my Mastering Blood Sugar Program, which is my private, premiere coaching program to help people get real, personalized solution to their diabetes and blood sugar issues. This is Dr. Brian Mowll, The Diabetes Coach, thanks for watching this video. I’ll be back next time with another On Call with Dr. Mowll. Take care, everybody, and God bless.