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August 22, 2002

Complications

Question from San Diego, California, USA:

Two years ago, at the age of 32, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and was in the borderline between type 1 and type 2. Ever since then, I have been taking a pill and have considerably lowered the sugar intake. It seems to be working just fine, as I have never seen a reading above the 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L]. However, I am really afraid of the disease complications (retinopathy, nephropathy, etc.) and so I keep telling myself that as long as I keep a healthy and my blood sugar in control, I will be not a candidate for them. Is it really true or does the disease gets worse with time?

Answer:

It sounds like you have type 2 diabetes. (Type 1 diabetes would not respond to oral hypoglycemic agents with satisfactory results.)

Even though you have done well till now, you still would be considered as having diabetes. As for the future, the best insurance against complications is good glucose control and a healthy lifestyle. It is true that type 2 diabetes has a plot line: it may be easy to control up front and worse later. However, it does not have to get worse. The most important thing is to do the things you can for the best results now.

JTL