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[IP] Type 2 versus type 1

In a message dated 9/29/1999 7:29:22 PM, email @ redacted writes:

<< >Hi Sam -- just curious. Why would type 2 be "better" than type 1?

I had originally had the wrong impression that not having to take 
injections would be easier. But some people who have been both types, 
totally disagree. Since I've only been type 1, I certainly wouldn't argue 
with them.

It would be interesting to hear from people with that perspective, though. 
Those of us who have only been type 1 (like me) may have a lot to learn 
about what type 2 is and how it affects the person that has it. >>

Hi Sam

Let me tell you about something I was told just today. 

I was interviewing a business owner who noted that his brother had just been 
DX'd with diabetes "and since then he's had all kinds of medical problems." I 
told him it was likely that the diabetes had been there for some time, but 
wasn't detected until the complications set in.

That's type 2 -- many times it isn't discovered until the heart attack 
happens, the feet are numb, the person is going blind, the person's kidneys 
are faililng ...

By then it's too late to prevent complications.

Type 1, on the other hand, is sudden-onset and you at least have a chance to 
get yourself in control and reduce your risk of complications.

On a personal note, I had to tell my doctor I thought I had diabetes. He 
laughed at me (I was only in my 30s), but ordered the tests to humor me. My 
fasting level was 311. "Yep, you have diabetes," he said. "Here. Follow this. 
Don't eat any sugar."

On diet control, you can't deviate without causing high BGs. I lasted on diet 
for awhile, but my BGs started climbing. I suppose. After all, like a type 1, 
I wasn't told to test. I was eventually put on oral meds. They didn't work. 
Still, my doctor (another one by this time) kept trying pill combination 
after pill combination on me.

I felt miserable for years.  I finally landed in ER with chest pains and a BG 
of 371 fasting. That was when I took my first insulin shot (right before 
being told I would be staying in the cardiac monitoring unit). The next week, 
I told my doc she *would* put me on insulin. Within about three days, I had 
more energy and felt better than I did in my 20s. By then I was close to 50. 
Frankly, I'd much rather take insulin (pumping it, of course!) and have a 
life than having to control DM on diet or oral meds and feeling absolutely 

That's type 2, Sam. You're not taken seriously, you're not given the proper 
care and you're not educated. In fact, the first time I was referred to an 
educator was when I started taking insulin. You see, type 2 isn't "serious" 
enough to require education. At that point, I had *known* I had DM for nine 
years. I have no idea how long I've really had it or what it's done to me 
that's going to crop up in the future from a lack of control when I didn't 
know I had it, wasn't educated about taking care of it and wasn't given the 
proper treatment because I was a type 2.

I had to ask to be put on MDI. I had to beg for a pump. With every request, 
the first repsonse I got was, "But you're a type 2 ..." 

Do type 1s get that kind of response?

I acquired an interesting book lately. It's a 1923 medical text about the 
treatment of DM. 1923, you may recall, was two years after insulin and they 
were still trying to figure out what affected BGs and how insulin was to be 

In the book, the author noted that there seems to be 3 kinds of DM: the 
"serious" kind that seems to appear in children; a "moderate" form that 
appears in the middle years and a "mild" form that occurs in older people. 

My contention is that today's myths about which type is more "serious" dates 
back to the years when type 1 *was* more serious. Those were the days before 
the life-saving insulin. (BTW, drugs for type 2 didn't appear until the 

I believe that all types of DM is serious. Whatever type you have needs to be 
controlled. It's pretty much leveled the playing field between type 1 and 
type 2. We can *all* enjoy a healthier lifestyle with a reduced risk of 
complications ...

... except, of course, for the type 2s who develop complications even before 
they know they have a chronic illness that needs to be controlled -- and who 
have docs who still believe that type 2 isn't to be taken seriously.

Oh, and one more thing ... I asked my endo on my last visit if one form was 
more serious than the other. His response? "No, they're both serious. But 
type 2 can be very sneaky. They can be running sugars that average in the 
120s and still be developing cardiovascular problems."


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