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The Question
Wed May 18 11:13:53 UTC 2011

I had lightheadedness years before I was diagnosed with diabetes. Did I have it then or was this a warning sign. Could I have autoimmune diabetes?
Asked By: celticdee  
Category: Type 2

Background Info Hide
Diagnosed 1-1/2 ago with Type 2. Numbers, when testing are all over the place. Had test over a year ago to check my body producing insulin. Nurse said was adequate.
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Expert Answers (1)
2011-05-18 17:52:56.0

Hi. Good question. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Type 2 is not. Type 1 is associated with several blood tests that indicate the body is destoying insulin and the tissue that produces it (which is in the pancreas). There are also DNA markers which are present in the blood with type 1 diabetes. These markers are not present in type 2. Also, eventually people with type 1 do not produce or barely produce any insulin. Only tests for these things can answer your questions about having type 1 or 2.

There is no way to tell if you had diabetes 1/1/2 years ago. However, the diabetes disease process starts to occur several years before the morning blood sugar rises above normal levels. Some studies indicate that statisticaly many people have had diabetes for 2 years before being officially diagnosed. Lightheadedness is a vague sign that can only be associated with high or low blood sugar if you test your blood sugar while having the symptom. It could be a sign or high or low blood sugar. In my practice, I have had several patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who have a past history of low blood sugar reactions. This does not suprise me because I believe it just shows that something has been going on with the pancreas for quite some time. Hope this answers your question. Good luck.

Answered By: Donna Yuscavage
Accreditations: RN, BSN, CDE
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*** All information contained on dLife.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our Expert Q&A is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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