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August 31, 2006

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Liverpool, Untied Kingdom:

Is it possible for someone to have both type 1 and type 2 diabetes? If so, how could this be diagnosed?

Answer:

It is not so much that any one person has both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but that they have elements of both types of diabetes. Type 1 is characterized by beta cell (the insulin producing cells) loss from autoimmune destruction and type 2 is characterized by insulin resistance (and some element of inulin deficiency that is not autoimmune). To have both, someone needs evidence of autoimmunity (beta cell antibodies) and insulin resistance. So, imagine someone who looks just like they have type 2 and has antibodies and someone with type 1 who has the need for an excessive dose of insulin, is obese and has high blood pressure, abnormal lipids, etc. They may need to take both insulin and oral pills.

For more information, see our section about Double Diabetes.

FK

[Editor’s comment: See also a previous question on this same subject.

BH]