Many people mistake Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Now, a doctor wants to do away with the distinction altogether.
According to a report in Diabetes in Control, Dr. Stanley Schwartz argues against a definition of diabetes which divides the two conditions. He instead proposes doing away with the current classification in favor of one definition of diabetes that manifests in different ways. According to Dr. Schwartz, beta cell destruction is the common denominator amongst all types of diabetes.
He believes the current definitions of the two conditions came about when scientists had a more simplistic view of diabetes – namely that Type 1 developed in kids, and Type 2 did not. Dr. Schwartz argues that we now know there are many factors that contribute to the beta cell destruction associated with diabetes; most of them are genetically based.
This new definition could free up treatment options that are currently siloed either for Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, he argues. It also could help fight stigmas associated with Type 2 as a strictly lifestyle-caused illness.
Of course, such a proposal may not gain traction, as many diabetes advocates argue that Type 1 diabetes, which is much less common, is already vastly overshadowed by Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 advocates already must spend a good deal of time educating about the differences between the two forms of diabetes to get those with Type 1 the proper care needed in schools and hospitals. Any definition that blurs the lines further between the different forms of diabetes might be counterproductive to those educational efforts.