Type 1 Diabetes in Adults: Can It Be Prevented?
Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile-onset diabetes, meaning it starts in childhood. But new studies show Type 1 is frequently being diagnosed in adults as well.
A study at Exeter University in the United Kingdom found that adults are as likely as children to develop Type 1 diabetes. More than 40% of Type 1 diabetes cases occur after the age of 30, but many are misdiagnosed as Type 2.
What’s the difference?
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes limit our bodies’ ability to use carbohydrate foods. In the body, carbohydrates break down into a sugar called glucose, which is our cells’ main source of energy.
Normally, we need the hormone called insulin to transport glucose into the cells of the body. In Type 1 diabetes, the body no longer produces much insulin. The insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Immune cells, usually GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) antibodies, or sometimes other antibodies, have attacked them.
The reason for the attack is unknown. People with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on injected or infused insulin to get glucose into their cells to stay alive. This “autoimmune” destruction of cells usually happens to children, but we now know it can happen at any age.
In Type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but the body’s cells don’t cooperate with it. They have become “insulin resistant,” meaning the body needs extra insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Type 2 used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” or “non-insulin dependent diabetes.” Those names are now outdated. People age 10 and you Continue reading