Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes at the Same Time?


One thing I hear occasionally among type 1 diabetics is, “Well, at least I can’t get type 2 diabetes!” This reasoning makes sense if you think only about the two diabetes as two points along a single spectrum, with type 2 diabetes being a metabolic disease that is “the less severe” type 1 diabetes.

I felt compelled to answer: Yes, yes you can. You absolutely can. Yes you can have type 1 and type 2 diabetes at the same time. You’re unlikely to get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes if you already have type 1, because it’s hard to measure the difference in blood sugar values, but you can still suffer from both types of diabetes simultaneously.

Consider: type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the T cell mediated destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells. In other words, no beta cells.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by insulin resistance in many of the cells in the body, and can progress to stress-induced (we think) death of the beta cells.

So, if your beta cells are already gone as a result of type 1 diabetes, they can’t die again because of type 2. But you can definitely become insulin resistant, due to obesity, genetic predisposition, and/or hyperinsulinemia.

As if type 1 diabetes weren’t hard enough– consider doing it while your body is insulin resistant as well. Ugh. Don’t do it, people– watch your weight, stay active, eat well. Avoid type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re a type 1 diabetic.

I am thinking about all of this in the wake of having watched the HBO miniseries/documentary, The Weight of the Nation. I highly recommend it– it was made in conjunction with the NIH, and hits a nice balance of being understandable and compelling, and being scientifically based. Plus, Francis Collins makes several appearances. I love that guy. It’s free, with four core episodes and a number of vignettes that go slightly deeper into detail, so check it out: http://theweightofthenation.hbo.com

Because, really, diabetes sucks, so let’s do what we can to avoid it when we can.


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Jill A Scott
Jill A Scott
5 years ago

Obesity doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes, type 2 diabetes causes you to gain weight. If you are insulin resistant, you have to much insulin in the blood because your body doesn’t use it properly. Insulin is a growth hormone. You can not avoid type 2 diabetes by staying thin.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jill A Scott

I was diagnosed with type 2 at 19yo, barely overweight, but with fluctuating cycles, my gyno submitted me for testing and results came out as pre-diabetic. Being young and active, I lost weight quickly and was able to control with diet & excercise. After my second child (& 7yrs with the disease), my Type 2 went “Full-blown” and drug-dependent. I was at a relatively good weight and all tests (even recently) have acknowledge I do not have fat deposits affecting my organs. Now 17yrs later & after having 3 kids, my pancreas has crapped out and my latest endo finally… Read more »

6 years ago

@jaquain hampton. I am very sorry about your brother. Diabetes sucks but many people live happy productive long lives with the right care. There are many things you can do to help and encourage him. Talk to your parents and the doctors about his care and how you can help. Reminding him to take his shots before eating, even checking his blood for him. My daughter has type 1 and is also 10. Sometimes she just gets tired of dealing with it. I try as much as I can to help her with her “diabetes responsibilities” like testing her blood… Read more »

Joseph Sheppard
Joseph Sheppard
3 years ago
Reply to  SAPSTX

I strongely disagree that diabetics can live “normal” lives. This is a myth. I am 65 and have had type 1 diabetes since 17. My older brother who died of diabetic complications 3 years ago was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 30 and died at 68. We both are/were married with children and accept/accepted the suffering we have endured. We both have experienced rewarding events in our lives and thank God for the opportunities we have had. But, we both have suffered greatly from diabetic complicaations through no fault of our own. I have had my left… Read more »

jaquain hampton
jaquain hampton
6 years ago

My 10 yr old brother is in the hospital as we speak because he has type 1 n 2 diabetes it has hit me pretty hard because i can barely look at him in that hospital bed with tubes connected to him and cant helo but burst in tears when i look at him what can i do as a big brother to help him through this because i am mentally lost.

Taysia Bell
Taysia Bell
2 years ago

My boyfriend has both type 1 and 2 as well what are some good ways to keep him on his toes as well as for me to help him when need be I’m new to this

1 year ago
Reply to  Taysia Bell

My daughter in law has had type 1 since she was 2 she is now 50 and now has type 2 have you found anything that helps your boyfriend?

Dr. Margaret A. Morris

@Katie Very true– and as far as Metformin goes, Mike Aviad has some experiences there: https://asweetlife.org/michael/blogs/personal-blogs/patient-power-i-discovered-metformin-myself/27472/

Mike, is metformin still helping for you? Overall a plus? 

9 years ago

I was diagnosed with Type 1 when I was 12, and as insulin resistant at 24.  Normal weight, reasonable control, but I have PCOS.  My “old skool” endo isn’t comfortable with the idea of treating my insulin resistance with Metformin, but my reproductive endo is trying to get him to at least let me try it during my next Clomid rounds.  Seems like the research on resistance in Type 1s is pretty new, but convincing… as long as our doctors READ it! :-) 

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