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Can Adults Develop Type 1 Diabetes

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Who Gets Type 1

More children getting Type I diabetes after COVID-19

Anyone, at any age, can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetesit is neither preventable nor curable. While the cause is unknown, studies prove that genes together with an environmental trigger result in the immune system turning on itself and destroying the bodys beta cells.

Many people are familiar with type 2 diabetes, but there is not enough awareness of type 1. Learn more about other forms of diabetes.

Information On Latent Autoimmune Diabetes In Adults

While many people used to think that only children could get type 1 diabetes , this isnt true. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age throughout your life. In fact, there are a few differences between type 1 diabetes that develops during adulthood and type 1 diabetes that develops during early years. Sometimes, adults with this slow-motion type 1 diabetes can go for months, even years, without starting insulin. While the term latent autoimmune diabetes in adults is sometimes used amongst those affected by it, its not an officially recognized term and many leading medical organizations do not use it.The only professional organization that does recognize LADA is the Immunology of Diabetes Society. They define LADA as the diagnosis of diabetes in a person over 40 with a presence of any islet cell antibody and a lack of necessity for insulin for at least 6 months. Some people see LADA as a completely different type of diabetes, while many people believe its just an offset of the medically recognized type 1 diabetes. To make sure that youre getting the right care, regardless of what you call type 1 diabetes in adults, its essential that you work with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan available.

Rare Until It Happens To You: Kycies Story

Kycie Terry, the second youngest of six children, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on January 30th, 2015 while in diabetic ketoacidosis .

Where her story differs from many who live with undiagnosed type 1 and go into DKA is that she ultimately experienced cerebral edema, a condition where fluid builds up around the brain, causing pressure and swelling. This complication was occurring unbeknownst to the healthcare providers treating her at the time, wreaking havoc on Kycies brain and nervous system as she slept in her ER room bed.

Less than 1 percent of pediatric patients in DKA experience cerebral edema, making it rare, though this statistic was of little comfort to the Terry family. As her father Josh put it, Its always rare until it happens to you. Read Kycies story here.

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How Is Type 1 Diabetes Treated

People with Type 1 diabetes need synthetic insulin every day, multiple times a day in order to live and be healthy. They also need to try to keep their blood sugar within a healthy range.

Since several factors affect your blood sugar level, Type 1 diabetes management is complex and highly individualized.

Three of the main components of Type 1 diabetes management include:

  • Carbohydrate counting.

Insulin for Type 1 diabetes management

There are several different types of synthetic insulin. They each start to work at different speeds, and they last in your body for different lengths of time. You may need to use more than one type.

Some types of inulin are more expensive than others. Work with your endocrinologist to find the right type of insulin for your needs.

The amount of insulin you need throughout the day depends on several factors including:

  • The types of food you eat.
  • Your blood sugar level at any given time.

Along with a background level of insulin , youll need to give yourself specific amounts of insulin when you eat and to correct high blood sugar levels.

You can take insulin in the following ways:

The amount of insulin you need day to day will vary across your lifespan and under specific circumstances. For example, you typically need larger doses of insulin during puberty, pregnancy and when youre taking steroid medication.

Blood sugar monitoring for Type 1 diabetes management

  • Access to diabetes technology and supplies.

Carb counting for Type 1 diabetes management

> > > Best Diabetes Solution Available

Type 1 diabetes could begin in the womb, new research suggests ...

Type 2 diabetes causes the body to become resistant to the hormone insulin. This hormone unlocks cells. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. While both types of the disease can cause problems, you can minimize the impact by following healthy eating and being physically active. The sooner you know more about diabetes, the better prepared you will be to deal with it. Once you know more about the disease, youll be better prepared for treatment.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes the body to produce too much insulin. It is also known as type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1, you can control your blood glucose levels by eating a balanced diet. If you have type 2 diabetes, you can even prevent it by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and modifying your diet. Its important to seek information that can help you be your own health advocate. There are many different types of diabetes, so its important to learn as much as you can about the condition.

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Newly Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes

It can be difficult to know where to get started with your new type 1 diagnosis, but were here to help you find the information you need.

As well as reading through the guidance and advice on this page, why not try our Learning Zone? With videos, quizzes and interactive tools tailored just for you, its the perfect way to discover more about your diabetes.

“She made me feel normal, when my normal had completely changed.”

– Laura, on being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Read her story.

Having Your Blood Glucose Levels Checked

You’ll be measuring your blood glucose yourself every day, to check your levels.

Your GP or diabetes care team will also carry out a different blood test every two to six months, called the HbA1c test.

This gives a clearer idea of how well your treatment plan is working, by measuring how stable your glucose levels have been over the past 6-12 weeks.

It measures the amount of haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells that has glucose attached to it. A high HbA1c level may indicate that your blood glucose level is consistently high and that your diabetes treatment plan needs to be altered.

The ideal HbA1c target for people with diabetes is below 53 mmol/mol.

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If You Havent Gotten Type 1 Diabetes By A Certain Age Does This Mean Youll Never Get This Autoimmune Disease That Youre Just Too Old To Develop It

Typically type 1 diabetes is diagnosed before the age of 35, but that doesnt mean that older adults cant get type 1 diabetes, says Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with over 10 years of experience in various community and clinical settings.

There is a type of diabetes called LADA that is an autoimmune type of diabetes , and these patients take insulin to manage their diabetes, continues Massey.

The onset of LADA is much slower than a typical type 1 diabetes diagnosis and often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Some patients older than 35 develop LADA.

According to Diabetes UK, 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with type 1 are over 40.

The National Diabetes Audit analyzed data based on 8,952 people between 2011 and 2012 who were diagnosed with type 1.

More than 500 of these patients were older than 69. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, says Diabetes UK, though this disease is most commonly diagnosed in kids between 10 and 14.

The symptoms of feeling tired and fatigue may be attributed to old age, which is why theres sometimes a late diagnosis.

So if a person is elderly and suffering these symptoms or unexplained weight loss , they should never think, Oh, it cant possibly be type 1 diabetes Im too old.

Of course, they should get checked for ANY type of diabetes, as type 2 can strike at any age as well.

Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes

Developing a Functional cure for Patients with Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakes the cells in your pancreas as harmful and attacks them.

Without insulin, your body will break down its own fat and muscle, resulting in weight loss. This can lead to a serious short-term condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is when the bloodstream becomes acidic, you develop dangerous levels of ketones in your blood stream and become severely dehydrated.

This results in the body being unable to produce insulin, which is required to move glucose out of the blood and into your cells to be used for energy. This is called Type 1 diabetes.

Read more about the causes of type 1 diabetes

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Causes Of Diabetes In Adults

Type 1 diabetes in adults is caused by your immune system destroying insulin producing cells. This is the same cause of type 1 diabetes in children. Many people speculate why this autoimmune disorder appears during later years if it didnt present itself during early adolescent development.It seems that adult-onset type 1 diabetes is simply a slower process, thus reducing the amount of insulin dependency on those affected. While there is a honeymoon phase, eventually type 1 diabetes that occurs in adults will result in complete dependency on insulin, much like type 1 diabetes that develops in children. Adult-onset type 1 diabetes does not seem to be genetically inherited.

How Long Does It Take To Develop Type 1 Symptoms

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children and young adults tend to develop quickly over a few weeks or few days.

Type 1 diabetes is a dangerous condition if it is left untreated for too long. It is therefore important to seek a diagnosis from your doctor if you or your child is showing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age. Adults may develop a specific form of type 1 diabetes known as LADA

LADA tends to develop more slowly than type 1 diabetes in children and young adults and people with LADA may sometimes be misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes.


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Diabetes And Brain Health

If you have diabetes, your doctor may screen you for depression or cognitive impairment. Older adults with diabetes are at higher risk for these conditions, compared with others their age who do not have diabetes. Having depression or cognitive impairment can make diabetes self-care challenging.

Your diabetes management plan will cover how to:

  • Track your glucose levels. Very high glucose levels or very low glucose levels can be risky to your health. Your plan will show how often you should check your glucose and how often to get the A1C test. If you are managing your diabetes without taking insulin, you may not need to check your glucose as often.
  • Make healthy food choices. The food you eat affects glucose levels, so its important to learn whats best for you to eat, how much, and when. If you are overweight, work with your health care team to come up with a plan to lose weight.
  • Be active. Walking and other forms of daily exercise can help improve glucose levels in older people with diabetes. Set a goal to be more active most days of the week, and create a plan for being physically active that fits into your life and that you can follow. Your health care team can help.
  • Take your medicines. You should take medicine as prescribed even when you feel good. Tell your doctor if you have any side effects or cannot afford your medicines. Also, let your doctor know if you have trouble taking your medicine or keeping track of your medication schedule.

Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes Onset In An Infant Or Child

How Type 1 Diabetes Is Diagnosed

The young child who is urinating frequently, drinking large quantities, losing weight, and becoming more and more tired and ill is the classic picture of a child with new-onset type 1 diabetes. If a child who is potty-trained and dry at night starts having accidents and wetting the bed again, diabetes might be the culprit.

Although it is easy to make the diagnosis diabetes in a child by checking blood sugar at the doctors office or emergency room, the tricky part is recognizing the symptoms and knowing to take the child to get checked. Raising the awareness that young children, including infants, can get type 1 diabetes can help parents know when to check for type 1 diabetes.

Sometimes children can be in diabetic ketoacidosis when they are diagnosed with diabetes. When there is a lack of insulin in the body, the body can build up high levels of an acid called ketones. DKA is a medical emergency that usually requires hospitalization and immediate care with insulin and IV fluids. After diagnosis and early in treatment, some children may go through a phase where they seem to be making enough insulin again. This is commonly called the honeymoon phase. It may seem like diabetes has been cured, but over time they will require appropriate doses of insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in the normal range.

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Maybe It’s A Different Type

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but isnt responding well to the typical treatments for type 2 diabetes, it may be worth a visit to an endocrinologist to determine what type of diabetes is happening. Generally, this requires antibody tests and possibly the measurement of a C-peptide level.

When Should I See My Healthcare Provider If I Have Type 1 Diabetes

If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, such as extreme thirst and frequent urination, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

If you or your child have been diagnosed with diabetes, youll need to see your endocrinologist multiple times a year throughout your life to make sure your diabetes management is working well for you.

When should I go to ER if I have Type 1 diabetes?

If youre experiencing symptoms of diabetes-related ketoacidosis , such as high blood sugar, nausea and vomiting and rapid breathing, get to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. DKA is life-threatening and requires immediate medical care.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes is a life-changing event, but it doesnt mean that you cant live a happy and healthy life. Type 1 diabetes involves constant day-to-day care and management. While itll likely be very overwhelming at first, over time youll get a better grasp on how to manage the condition and how to be in tune with your body.

Be sure to see your endocrinologist and other healthcare providers regularly. Managing Type 1 diabetes involves a team effort youll want both medical professionals and friends and family on your side. Dont be afraid to reach out to them if you need help.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/09/2022.


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How Common Is Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is relatively common. In the United States, approximately 1.24 million people live with Type 1 diabetes, and that number is expected to grow to five million by 2050.

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases that affect children in the United States, though adults can be diagnosed with the disease as well.

What Are The Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes

Mayo Clinic Explains Diabetes

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are serious and usually happen quickly, over a few days to weeks. Symptoms can include

  • increased thirst and urination
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble paying attention or feeling confused

DKA is serious and dangerous. If you or your child have symptoms of DKA, contact your health care professional right away, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

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Living With Type 1 Diabetes

You need insulin to live, so youll need to take it every day by injecting it or using an insulin pump. Youll also check your blood sugar levels throughout the day to make sure youre staying in your target range as much as possible. Your health care team will help you understand what your target range is and how to stay within it.

Getting Good Medical Care

Beyond diagnosis, adults living with type 1 diabetes may face another challenge: finding a doctor who has as much knowledge about diabetes as they have. Many adults who have been living with type 1 diabetes since childhood have become experts over the years, both by learning as much as they can about managing their condition, and by simply carrying out their own self-care year after year. These adults as well as those diagnosed later in life seek out physicians who have just as much information and insight as they do, sometimes without success.

For Douglas Deatrick, a 49-year-old who has been living with type 1 diabetes since age 9, a good endocrinologist can be hard to find, but a good primary-care doctor or internist is even harder. According to Deatrick, There has not been one who is willing to just take care of the regular stuff, and they all think they can manage my diabetes for me. My first question is What is Symlin? When they dont know it, I just leave.

Some adults with type 1 diabetes deal with this by using a primary-care doctor mainly to get referrals to an endocrinologist or by seeking out an endocrinologist on their own for their diabetes care. However, an individuals ability to do this may be limited by a scarcity of endocrinologists in his area, a health insurance plan that limits visits to specialists, or an inability to pay out of pocket for visits not covered by health insurance.

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