T1 $ T2 diabetes

I’m starting a this topic which stems from another topic discussing the semantics of the word ‘diabetes’.

Anyway, I’m not sure If I’m alone, and I may come across as politically incorrect, but find it frustrating to be lumped in when referring to diabetes. I am T1D, and though its under the same medical umbrella, I am specifically T1D, and not Type 2.

These are 2 different diseases, and would appreciate they be differentiated.
T1D. to begin, is an autoimmune disease, while T2 not.
T1D requires insulin, while T2 mostly not.
T1D affects about 10% of all diabetics, while T2 the other 90%.
I don’t want to get into a comparison war, and I don’t feel either diabetic categories deserve more understanding, but I do believe a more accurate understanding of each category is deserved.

In fact, I believe because of the up-rise of T2, much more money and research is being invested. Some of this T2 research may even help the much smaller T1D population. As with all diseases, diabetes is a business, and the research follows the money, not necessarily the disease. But because of this T2 uprise, popular diabetes understanding is being formed by the majority- leaving the T1 minority without validation.

I’m the first to accept that non-diabetics are not probably not going to ever understand the intricacies of the disease, just as I couldn’t tell you the intricacies of other diseases I’m fortunate not to suffer. However, I need there to be a general understanding that these are 2 different diseases, and categorized as such.

I guess I’m being selfish, and looking for validation of my unique T1D experience. Having the two types of diabetes confused in the media and the population in general , I believe, lessens the chance that my unique experience can be appreciated.

As an example, I am being to feel like I’m being personally attacked, or insulted, when I watch these TV ads peddling T2 medicine. In one of these saccharine coated, flowery, grinning commercials a man begins, ‘My body still produces insulin…’ I wanted to throw something at the television. Who is he to mock me?

I realize I’m going off on a rant, and do not believe I am even being coherent.
My feelings about this may border on paranoid.

Anyway, I was hoping someone could their views on this topic.


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Hi, John @jdsnyc1421.

First things first. My sense is you are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of attention given to T1D. I’m okay with that; all of us get frustrated with T1D issues from time-to-time. This is a good place to vent that frustration. But please don’t let yourself get “caught” in a “frustration loop” that you can’t get out of. Do something with that energy - volunteer to help with your local JDRF Chapter or volunteer to help a political candidate who shares your views. Do something with your frustration that will have a positive outcome, not just for you, but for everyone who has T1D and any other chronic medical condition.

Now, let’s clarify a couple of things. Yes, T1D appears to be an autoimmune disorder. But, for many people, there appears to be a similar mechanism working when they develop T2. And, for many, T2 simply appears to be a “lifestyle” disorder. There seems to be a spectrum of causes of the several types of diabetes, ranging from “purely” autoimmune, to “purely” lifestyle. But, when you get down to the facts of it all, no one really knows what is causing any of the several types of diabetes.

Yes, more money is being spent on everything related to what is generally termed T2 diabetes.
But, if you promise not to tell anyone, I will let you in on a “big secret.” Part of the reason T1 gets less attention (and funding) is because it is generally considered a “pediatric issue.” In the medical world pediatrics disciplines receive much, much less attention, funding, and respect than their adult counterparts. Since T1D is generally considered a “pediatric issue,” it gets caught in that “history of neglect.” (This is my quick summation of this issue - it really deserves a chapter in a book on medical education, funding, and research).

One of the reasons for the above is it is almost impossible to do medical and drug research on pediatric patients. That is why most medications are never tested on children; medications may actually carry a warning on their packages indicating they should not be used with children. The difficulty with pediatric research is a real “Catch 22.”

And, as you suggested, the greater attention to T2 is a “numbers game” - there are more of them so they have the greater need and garner more attention. Unfair? Nope, it is just how things are.

I am typing this after going to see my retina specialist this morning - my eye is still dilated. When he entered the room he stopped, looked at me, and said, “How old are you now?” I told him, and he then said, “You look great!” After 60+ years of diabetes I’ll take that. I think I still “look great” because I direct my frustration back at my diabetes - I do everything I can to limit its impact and influence on my life. Yes, I give it its 15 minutes a day, but I’ll not let it prevent me from living my life.

Invest your frustration in a positive direction. And, turn off the television with its patronizing commercials. Go knock on doors as part of a T1 or political campaign. Do something positive with that energy.

Best of luck to you!


You are correct on many points. Yes there is more research on T2D than T1D. That is because there is more money and profit in T2D. The drug companies are after the bottom line and you summed it up with 90% being T2D vs. 10% for T1D. It is frustrating that they are 2 different diseases. Wait until your insurance has an advice nurse call you and this person says we can get you on a better diet and more exercise and get you off insulin. Yes, I am T1D and yes I hike 10 to 12 miles a day backpacking. Go figure…

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I agree about the nomenclature issue with Type 1. I keep hoping that whoever makes the rules (ADA? FDA? IOM?) will change the name of T1D to something less confusing. My suggestion is Autoimmune Beta Cell Deficiency, or ABCD. It has the advantage of being an accurate description of what’s going on, and ABCD is an easy name for kids to deal with.