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November 17, 2010

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Naperville, Illinois, USA:

My 13-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ten days ago. Yesterday, during his doctor's appointment, our endocrinologist said that his pathology reports indicate that in addition to type 1 diabetes, he also has type 2 diabetes. My husband and I are confused about the diagnosis and are looking for a clearer understanding of how our son can have both type 1 and type 2. What would a typical treatment plan look like?

Answer:

If your son were overweight or obese, then this would be more likely type 2 diabetes. If your son had positive antibodies (islet, GAD, IA2, ZnT8 etc), then this would more likely be type 1 or autoimmune. There is sometimes some overlap or what is called double diabetes. The importance is whether or not insulin or pills may be the primary treatment modality to control the sugar levels. While it may be somewhat early to handle this type of complexity, from a research and even from a clinical treatment perspective, trying to identify the main type of illness is a helpful task even if it is not always as clear as we would like it to be. Your own diabetes team should be able to help you answer these specific questions more clearly as your own education proceeds, so please go back and ask them specific questions so they can assist with your understanding.

SB