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Why is it important to know what type of diabetes I have?

It is important to know whether you have type 1, type 2 or another type of diabetes because the treatment strategies for each differ. Some studies suggest that early insulin treatment in people with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) may help keep beta cells (those that produce insulin in the pancreas) alive and functioning longer. Whereas people with type 1 need to take insulin, people with type 2 may not. Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed with lifestyle changes and, if needed, medication. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all people diagnosed with type 2 be started on metformin (a medication that helps lower blood glucose by making sure the liver does not make too much glucose), unless contraindicated. However, it is possible to reduce or eliminate the need for medications with lifestyle changes. Because type 2 is progressive, many people who start out on oral medications may eventually need insulin therapy. This does not mean that you have failed at managing your diabetes, or that your type 2 has become type 1. Instead, it simply means that your type 2 diabetes has progressed to a more advanced stage.

Knowing how your disease is affecting your body is important and can help you better manage your diabetes. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have questions about what type of diabetes you have.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.