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May 13, 2005

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Lancaster,Pennsylvania, USA:

I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 48 with type 1 diabetes. I am now taking five injections a day and my numbers are still quite erratic with highs and lows. Isn't it unusual for someone my age to be diagnosed with type 1? My sister has been a juvenile diabetic for 30 years and it is rampant on my mother's side of the family. I had gestational diabetes with my fifth child and it waited for 17 years before coming back with a vengeance. I find myself getting somewhat depressed after doing all this work with carbohydrate counting and such. I am not overweight and I expect better glucose readings than what I'm getting. Can one person have worse diabetes than another?

Answer:

Yes, it is unusual, but it is not unheard of. Type 1 diabetes is associated with labile blood sugars. The history of gestational diabetes is associated with type 2 diabetes, not type 1 diabetes. However, you should be speaking about issues related to the diagnosis with your physician. The usual situation for type 1 diabetes is for a thin person with absolute insulin deficiency and positive antibodies. Type 1 diabetes tends to skip generations and has a frequency of 10 to 15% in offspring of involved parents. In patients with type 2 diabetes, the rate is 50% in the offspring of parents with diabetes. Don’t be discouraged about the diabetes. Work toward your glucose goals and team with your physician to increase insulin therapy toward your goal. If you have type 1 diabetes, it is a matter of increasing your insulin to meet goals.

JTL