Double Diabetes Summary
When a person has elements of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, they have "double diabetes" (or hybrid diabetes). This occurs when:
- A child with type 1 diabetes becomes overweight and develops the basic feature of type 2 diabetes and obesity – the body becomes resistant to insulin.
- A child with type 2 diabetes has one of the key features of type 1 – the presence of antibodies in the blood against the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas causing a decrease in the body's ability to produce insulin.
What Does Double Diabetes Look Like In Someone With Type 1 Diabetes?
In someone with type 1, the signs and symptoms typical of type 2 diabetes can develop gradually. How quickly they develop depends mostly on a person's genes and their degree of weight gain.
- They are usually overweight or obese.
- They need a high dose of insulin to control their blood sugar.
- They have developed insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells no longer respond normally to insulin that the pancreas produces or that is given by injection or inhaled.
- They may have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- They may have an abnormal lipid profile and poor diabetes control.
- Teenage girls and women may have the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which includes several hormonal abnormalities that lead to infrequent or absent periods, and excess hair growth and acne.
What Does Double Diabetes Look Like In Someone With Type 2 Diabetes?
If a teenager or child with all of the typical clinical features of type 2 diabetes –- excess body weight, acanthosis nigricans (velvety and dark colored skin of the neck, armpit and groin), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) (for girls), positive family history of type 2, belonging to ethnic/racial minority group -– has the presence of antibodies against the insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas, we would say he or she has elements of both kinds of diabetes. A number of reports have described that as many as 15-20% of teens with the typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes have antibodies circulating in their blood. Because of the presence of these antibodies, they can no longer be considered a pure type 2 case.
The appearance of double diabetes can be quite different, depending on the degree of a person's insulin resistance. The combination of genetic tendency – the risk that a person will inherit something from their parents – and the degree of overweight, obesity and poor fitness will determine if someone becomes insulin resistant – and whether the resistance is moderate or severe.
How is Double Diabetes Prevented?
While relatively little is known about the long-term outcome of double diabetes since it's a newly identified condition, we do know that being overweight and having diabetes genes in one's family are the main causes. And since we can't do anything about our genes, managing weight is the most important way to prevent double diabetes. To prevent the development of double diabetes in someone with type 1 diabetes, it's important to be physically active and prevent excessive weight gain or obesity.
How Is Double Diabetes Managed?
Double diabetes must be managed by paying very close careful attention to glucose control and maintaining proper weight. Controlling glucose requires a few key steps:
- Taking both insulin and medicines by mouth to control blood glucose levels (these are the medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes)
- Staying physically active
- Eating the right amounts of healthy foods
For a person with type 1 diabetes that shows signs of double diabetes, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight may resolve their body's problem with insulin resistance (the basic feature of type 2 diabetes and obesity). And, as weight decreases, the amount of insulin required to control glucose levels decreases too. Blood pressure and lipid levels also return to a more optimal range. In women and girls, the polycystic ovary syndrome may also improve.
Additional Information About Double Diabetes
- What Is Double Diabetes?
- All Types Of Diabetes Are On The Rise In Children And Teenagers
- Causes Of Double Diabetes
- What Should Be Done At The Time Of Diabetes Diagnosis To Determine The Type Of Diabetes?
- Type 1 Diabetes Compared To Type 2
- What Does Double Diabetes Look Like In Someone With Type 2 Diabetes?
- What Does Double Diabetes Look Like In Someone With Type 1 Diabetes?
- Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes To Look For In A Person Diagnosed With Type 1
- How Is Double Diabetes Prevented?
- How Is Double Diabetes Managed?
- Medical Treatment Of Double Diabetes
- The Importance Of A Healthy Lifestyle To Prevent Or Treat Double Diabetes
- Reducing Insulin Resistance For Children And Teens With Type 1 Who Develop Elements Of Type 2
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