There are a lot of misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve been told that I don’t look diabetic. I’ve been asked if my diabetes has gotten any better– as if I’m sick but on the road to recovery. I’ve had people assume I’ve had diabetes since childhood. Anyone that lives with Type 1 has probably heard these things and a whole host of others.
I was 25 years old when I was diagnosed. The misinformed often think this adult-aged onset of Type 1 is rare. But it isn’t. I think it’s the main reason why Type 1 is no longer referred to as Juvenile Diabetes. For one, not everyone is a juvenile when they get it. More importantly, it isn’t just a condition you have at a young age. Once you have it, you’re always going to have it. Changing your diet, losing weight, taking medication, or taking some supplement isn’t going to make Type 1 Diabetes go away. You don’t get Type 1 because of your lifestyle, and you can’t get rid of it by making lifestyle changes either. It’s an auto-immune disease.
I’ve met and heard from lots of other Type 1s that were diagnosed as adults. Many of them were first wrongly told they had Type 2 based on their age. Oral medications (often used in treating Type 1 Diabetes) and/or changing their diet did nothing to help reel in their ever climbing blood sugars. Of course, eventually, they ended up going to a doctor that actually knew a thing or two, and got the correct diagnosis before they died.
The bottom line is this. Type 1 is an auto immune disease. Type 2 is NOT. Age is NOT the defining difference between the two conditions. Type 1 effects people of all ages. It is not simply Juvenile Diabetes.