Third type of diabetes can be misdiagnosed as Type 2

Type 3c is more common than previously thought and should be treated differently.

  • Thursday, November 30, 2017 7:12pm
  • Life

Three’s a crowd.

British scientists say Type 3c diabetes may be more common than previously thought, saying some people with Type 2 may have been misdiagnosed.

The study, published in the November issue of Diabetes Care, found that about 1.5 percent of 31,789 new cases of diabetes over a 10-year period were diagnosed as Type 2 instead of Type 3c. One percent of new cases were Type 1 diabetes, making Type 3 more common in adults in this research.

The study says Type 3c forms differently from the first two. Type 1 diabetes typically forms in childhood and is a condition in which your body doesn’t produce insulin at all. Type 2 is seen in adults when your pancreas can’t keep up with insulin demand; it is usually related to weight gain and poor eating habits.

Type 3c, however, is seen after damage is done to the pancreas due to inflammation, cystic fibrosis, cancer or surgery. Type 3 affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, but also the body’s ability to properly digest food properly.

While it’s a relatively small portion of patients, study author Andrew McGovern wrote in The Conversation that, “Researchers and specialist doctors have recently become concerned that Type 3c diabetes might be much more common than previously thought and that many cases are not being correctly identified.”

Those with Type 3c diabetes need insulin as well as supplemental enzymes to assist with food digestion. Type 3 could present as late as 10 years after the initial damage to the pancreas was done.

A National Institutes of Health study from 2008 also identified Type 3c as an underdiagnosed form of diabetes, but still many people aren’t aware of it.

McGovern said correctly diagnosing Type 3c diabetes is important in determining proper course of treatment.

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