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March 28, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Liberty, South Carolina, USA:

My doctor told that my pancreas has shut down, I am not making insulin, and I have type 2 diabetes. I take mixed insulin and Lantus at bedtime. What type of diabetes do I have?


Without more information, I cannot say for sure what type of diabetes you have. However, from what you have said, it sounds like you probably have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can come on at any age, and is caused by autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, so that the pancreas stops making insulin. Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin. People with type 1 diabetes can develop DKA [diabetic ketoacidosis] if they do not receive insulin, so if you have had that, it would most likely indicate that you have type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is generally a state of insulin resistance, in which insulin is still being produced (often in larger amounts than normal), but does not control the blood glucose level adequately. It often occurs in people who are overweight, and can sometimes be treated with pills, but may require insulin to bring the blood sugar levels under control. People often think that any diabetes that comes on in adulthood is type 2, but in fact type 1 can come on in adulthood also.