How common is Type 1.5 diabetes?

2 answers | Last updated: Aug 12, 2013
A fellow caregiver asked...

I was diagnosed as having Type 1.5 diabetes at the age of 19. I was treating my diabetes as if I were a Type 1 (taking insulin) for 8 years before I got a new endocrinologst who told me that I have Type 2. However, my blood sugars have been high for about a year now and she has rediagnosed me as a "Type 1.5", essentially a Type 2 who needs more insulin than others to survive. I am interested to know how many people are falling into the "Type 1.5" category?

Expert Answers

Theresa Garnero is clinical nurse manager of Diabetes Services at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Type 1.5 is not an official classification of diabetes, although it is referred to in diabetes circles in the way you have described. The majority of people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin at some point in their lifetime. Many people think that if you need insulin, it automatically equates type 1 diabetes. Since that is not true, and since characteristics may overlap between type 1 and 2, the "type 1.5" category arose. I've heard a few people told they are type 1.5, but without an official definition, one can only speculate how many fit the profile. From my clinical observation, it is a minority of patients.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

It may be a sub type called "monogenic" diabetes (MODY). The University of Chicago is doing research in it. It is typically ascribed to a small number of diabetics who are diagnosed as Type 2 in early adulthood, who are not over weight, and who have a strong genetic predisposition.