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November 29, 2000

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Edison, New Jersey, USA:

I am 29 years old and have been diagnosed with diabetes for a year and one-half. I am weigh 100 pounds. The doctors are not sure if it is type 1 or type 2. My fasting insulin is 3.4. My hemoglobin A1c decreased from 8.9% to 7.4% after taking Glucophage [metformin] for the last three months. Could this mean my insulin level is okay and I might be type 2?


Your dilemma is a common condition in the treatment of diabetes. That is, what is the correct designation for the type of diabetes you have. On the limited amount of information I have, it sounds as if you are being treated like you have type�2 diabetes, but your body structure sounds more like type�1 diabetes since you are thin and not obese. It is possible to have a form of diabetes which initially looks like type 2 diabetes, but in which your ability to maintain insulin secretion begins to fall, and you end up on insulin. Your doctor may be able to measure antibodies in your blood which may help shed some light on this.

The most important thing to do is stay in close contact with your physician. Strive for normal blood sugars and do not accept sugars that remain elevated over long stretches of time.