Many medical researchers notice a dangerous pattern among patients where more than one-third of adults over 30 are incorrectly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes while they actually display symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

A study released in April 2019 revealed that older patients displayed the same symptoms occurring in younger, type 1 diabetes patients. However, it is far less likely that medical professionals will pinpoint type 1 diabetes as the cause in older people.

The difference between type 1 and type 2

The misdiagnosis between the two types isn’t surprising since they share several symptoms including increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision. However, there are crucial differences between the types:

  • In type 1, the body does not produce insulin and C-peptides, while type 2 means you do not respond to insulin as well as you should.
  • Obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are more commonly associated with type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes may be present with other autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease, vitiligo and thyroid diseases.

Depending on which type you have, you need a different strategy for treatment. For type 1 treatments, patients need insulin therapy, carb counting, continuous glucose monitor and pump use. While type 2 treatments usually focus on exercise, dietary changes and unique medications depending on the person.

And there are significant consequences if someone is improperly treated for type 2 instead of type 1.

A person who is diagnosed with type 2 who actually has type 1 will develop an insulin deficiency, which leads to diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition that happens after a type 1 person develops a high-glucose level. It is completely preventable with the correct treatments.

While misdiagnosis is usually an accident, it doesn’t mean that patients have to suffer in silence. If your physician or hospital acted negligently during your treatments, you should seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim and ensure no one else experiences that same mistake.