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Do I really have Type 2 diabetes…?

Hi there! I have already posted this on Diabetic South Africans Facebook page, but thought I’d post it to you guys too…

Hey guys! Just wondering whether there is anyone who has LADA or MODY diabetes and how you were diagnosed? My GP diagnosed me as type 2 (6 months ago) but here’s the problem – I am 25 years old and 56 kg, no history of diabetes in my family; diet for the majority of my life has been excellent, (the last few years as a student haven’t been too healthy but I think that’s pretty normal) and I was very active with gymnastics and sports since I was 4 years old, again the last 3 years I have been lazy due to studies but up till then I was super active.

Is there anyone else who has experienced this? It seems so strange to me… thinking I need a second opinion, glucose tolerance proved there is definitely insulin resistance but I’m wondering if I have one of the more unusual ones. I didn’t crash hard enough for type 1. I’m on Type 2 diabetes medication once a day but i think my sugars are gradually creeping up slightly since diagnosis in January; anyone got some advice for me or a story to share?

The other thing is that I have read about 600 calorie daily diet possibly reversing diabetes but at 56 kg i’m not sure this is safe for me.. i’m frustrated because I am young and not overweight, and everything i can find on type 2 relates to losing weight which I don’t need to do. So frustrated right now. *What is going on??* Thanks!

Great site thanks so much!

– Kirsten Marx

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12 Comments

  1. Kirsty Kirsty

    Our stories are exactly the same, I am now 25 and 2 years ago, after leading a fairly active and healthy lifestyle my GP diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes. I was put on Glucophage, and my sugar kept on climbing. My career rested on the diagnosis, and so naturally, I went for a 2nd, 3rd, even 4th opinion. Unfortunately all their 3 specialist I went to changed the diagnosis to type 1. They did a blood test that checks the amounts of antibodies in your blood, obviously mine was off the scale. You should maybe consider a second opinion.

  2. That’s so interesting, Kirsty – how do you feel now? And what do you mean your career rested on the diagnosis, has it all worked out okay?

    I think if you have any doubt at all it’s a good idea to get a second opinion.. From the sounds of things, Kirsten, I would say you’re a late onset Type 1 – I was also diagnosed at 25, also healthy, normal weight, good diet and exercised. But I was diagnosed late, so it was obvious I was Type 1 (my blood sugar was very, very high).

    From what I’ve read, what sometimes happens is that the pancreas continues producing small amounts of insulin and then peters out, so that could be what stage you’re in now. But you should definitely get checked out by a different doctor if you’re in any doubt.

    Also, that extreme diet was only for a study, under extremely controlled circumstances – not for everyday use at all! Here’s our piece about it:
    http://sweetlife.org.za/​2011/06/new-study-tests-ne​wly-diagnosed-type-2-diabe​tics/

    • Kirsty Kirsty

      I am a pilot, and so type 1 diabetes on insulin was a big no no as far as that was concerned. it has been extremely difficult to get it under control, but I have a wonderful family and friends that support me so much.

      • Having family and friends for support makes such a difference, doesn’t it? And are you able to work as a pilot, still?

        • Kirsty Kirsty

          Very much so! I can still fly, but only in a “Captain, Co-Pilot” situation and my hba1c needs to remain below 7

  3. Armand Armand

    Hey Kirsten,

    I am 22 years old, and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 3 years ago. I am controlling my diabetes with an excellent doctor who is a specialist, the thing she told me the very first time we met was that I needed to become a specialist myself on everything relating to diabetes.

    I do not have a degree in medicine or have gone for extensive test, and I can see there are people here who probably know more than me, but from my own perspective I can’t conclude that you are a type 2 candidate. You are clearly lacking the weight required to be considered a type 2 diabetic, and once more you sound to be extremely fit.

    If you are type 1 like me, you should find it difficult to gain weight, and furthermore, embarrassingly as it may sound, before correct diagnosis, if your sugar levels are constantly high, you will have an undying thirst, after which you will have to go to the bathroom to relieve yourself quite periodically. Other symptoms of type 1, include mood-swings and being irritable.

    Just because your sugar levels don’t go low, does not mean you do not have type 1. I mean, insulin is there to lower your sugar-levels, and type 1 diabetics require insulin, thus by drinking the medication prescribed for type 2, you are not lowering your sugar-levels, which is what you want to do, so that they can come into the normal range.

    Remember, hypoglycemia (low sugar) is a symptom of too much insulin in the body, or because of not eating enough, low sugar is not considered a symptom of type 1 diabetes, but rather a product after diagnosis, after which you can become hypoglycemic if… like I said, you inject yourself with too much insulin, or eat too little.

    Oh, and another thing, there doesn’t have to be diabetes in your family for you to be able to get diabetes, it is still a myth whether it can be transferred genetically, test are being done, but the verdict is still standing that it is not a genetic disease.

    Also, type 1 diabetes is very common under young people such as you and myself, so you are essentially a perfect candidate for type 1 instead of type 2. And PLEASE, do not stay with a GP after your diagnosis, you need special care, you need to go to a diabetic-clinic, otherwise you will never lead a happy and healthy lifestyle with diabetes (own experience), too many a time, I’ve heard people who went into coma’s and were misdiagnosed by GP’s.

    I myself, am at a Clinic in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, under the supervision and care of Dr. L.M. Dickson. See has another Clinic I think in Constancia. Please make the effort, and go to the right people, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

    Hope I was of assistance

    Kind Regards

  4. Collet Dunne Collet Dunne

    Kirsty, get yourself to a Diabetic Specialist. I have found GP’s to be generally uninformed and not reliable when it comes to LADA/MODY Diabetes.
    I was blessed in that my GP at the time had a special interest in Diabetes and was part of a research group so he was very informed, but still, he immediately referred me to a Diabetic Specialist for full diagnosis and specialist treatment.
    Best of luck. Let me know how you get on!

  5. Kirsten Marx Kirsten Marx

    hi, sorry i hadn’t realised there were comments on here yet!! yes i think you guys are cementing something which has started to become apparent to me – every diabetic needs specialist care regardless of your type; i think that is something which is really under-stressed, especially to type 2’s…(or maybe it was just me) i had the impression that clinics were only really necessary for type 1’s and that having type 2 meant that you just take your pills and stop making a nuisance of yourself! its so important and what is quite scary is that you could go for years not second-guessing your gp as i have done. I don’t want to bash GP’s as generally my experience with them has been good; as a foreign student i had to sign up with a new one on my medical aid network, and whilst I can understand why he doesn’t have all the answers, i feel a bit shocked in retrospect that he actually advised me AGAINST seeing any specialists at all! i had chronic infections last year and was in at the doctor every 3 weeks or so for the most random stuff, but i was told that i was working too much and simply burning out. when it was discovered (by accident through another infection) that my sugars were high, i was sent for the glucose tolerance test. when i got the results, i asked what the next step was and he wrote a script for metformin, wrote down ‘diet,diet,diet’ on a piece of paper and suggested i get onto google. He also said that i shouldn’t bother with a diabetic clinic because my medical aid wouldn’t cover it, and that it wasn’t necessary because “i’m calling it a mild case of type 2, nothing to worry about.” I can really see now how important it is for me NOT to take his advice and just go straight to the people who know best! which is what i’m now in the process of doing 🙂 It may just be type 2- which is fine, but i just need to know that I have had the correct diagnosis and wont be having any more surprises again down the road. I can handle whatever the situation is but its tough beating something when you can’t even define it. its been pretty tough to swallow which i’m sure you can all relate to; it will really be good to get some answers and something definite after swimming around the murky waters of google. I really wanted to hear what some seasoned diabetic’s thought 🙂 thanks for your input everyone I will most certainly let you know what happens! currently doing an internship for 3 more weeks and then I can get started with a specialist. (have found a clinic closeby and the diabetic nurse whom i met briefly said that they will handle everything i need with regards more tests so i’m pretty excited..she said no ways am I type 2. interesting! can’t wait to start with them.) hopefully if there is anyone else who was in my position they will get to read this… Get in touch with the professionals people!!!! thanks so much for all the info really helps out alot, i think knowledge is really the key to living happily with diabetes, as Armand mentioned 🙂

  6. Kirsten Marx Kirsten Marx

    by the way- Kirsty i’m so glad you still get to fly- i have read a blog from a young guy in the states who was busy with pilot training, and then got diagnosed with type 1; he said that it was non-negotiable in the states that flying was no longer an option for him. really felt so bad for the guy 🙁

  7. Kirsten Marx Kirsten Marx

    sorry Kirsty one more thing, how long was it before you noticed your sugars rising? coz for me my glucose tolerance was around 13 at diagnosis. metformin 500 at breakfast, and sugars immediately dropped to the 3’s and 4’s (was mostly 3’s to be honest and i actually thought they must have made a mistake with the whole diabetes thing) lowest then was 2.9. now after 6 months its goes between 4’s and 7’s- does that sound familiar? also, when they diagnosed you with type 1 finally, did they start you immediately on insulin or did they wait till you weren’t producing any of your own anymore?! so many questions, sorry!!

    • Kirsty Kirsty

      You can still fly in the states, actually it was the first country to allow it. When I had a glucose tolerance test, my sugar hit 35mol/l. It was very complicated, because at the time you couldn’t fly as a type 1 diabetic, so I tried my best to stay off insulin. Unfortunately if your pancreas doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try, it never will. Initially I was put onto glucophage 850mg, 3 times a day – that did nothing but make me sick. I would recommend you see a specialist – which seems to be exactly what you have decided to do.

  8. From Facebook (Diabetic South Africans):

    Are there any commercial pilots in this group who have lost their work because of a type 1 diagnosis? I’m a 4th-year law student next year and I’m doing research on this matter for next year. I was hoping to talk to someone who might have been in this situation, it would be able to give me a better perspective than that what I’m getting from books and so forth…
    – Armand Greyling

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.