Diabetes Awareness Month- Type 1.5 Diabetes
Aside from gestational and pre-diabetes, we’ve always known this metabolic condition is classified into 2 types: type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, antibodies from your immune system attack the cell that makes insulin. The condition can start unexpectedly and is commonly diagnosed in children. Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults due to insulin resistance, causing high blood sugar levels.
While we know how complicated this condition can be, a study shows that more than 3% of researched cases of diabetes did not fall entirely into either type 1 or type 2. According to an endocrinologist, diabetes can show in at least one other form aside from the common ones, called type 1.5.
With this new finding, here’s what you need to know about the arguable diagnosis.
What is type 1.5 diabetes?
Type 1.5 diabetes is also a result of antibodies from your immune system unintentionally destroying the pancreatic cells producing insulin. This type of diabetes does not have to be treated with insulin immediately. It is usually diagnosed in adults than kids.
Like type 2 diabetes, type 1.5 progresses more gradually, unlike type 1 diabetes. Additionally, a weight management specialist said that type 1.5 diabetes is used to describe patients with some level of decreased insulin production due to reduced functioning of the beta cells of the pancreas.
Patients with this controversial diagnosis can produce some amount of insulin, but not enough, and may not make the hormone in the long run.
Still, we need to know that type 1.5 diabetes is not a medical term, and some experts do not support its use. The condition is said to be most commonly linked with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) and is often used similarly with that condition.
What causes type 1.5 diabetes?
It’s unclear why antibodies that are designed to protect you against invaders decide to destroy the body’s insulin-producing cells. However, genetics plays a role in all forms of diabetes. Research on the genetic entities of type 1.5 diabetes has shown that it overlaps with type 1 diabetes more than with type 2.
Regardless of the gene’s involvement, an environmental trigger can also be responsible. According to an expert, “you have to have the right genetic predisposition, but something has to set your immune system off on a path to destroy the cells that make insulin.” Still, “it’s unclear what those things are.”
Research also linked weight, viral infections, and stress, but nothing is certain.
What are the symptoms of type 1.5 diabetes?
Usually, there are no symptoms at the beginning because the beta cells are gradually destroyed. As such, life seems to continue as usual. But once symptoms appear, they appear similar to other forms of diabetes and tend to be caused by high blood glucose levels. Below are the symptoms of type 1.5 diabetes.
- Blurred vision
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst/ hunger
- Increased yeast infections
- Weight loss
Characteristics suggesting type 1.5 diabetes are:
- A family history of autoimmune disease
- Not being obese
- Weight loss.