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What Serious Health Issue Is Often Misdiagnosed?

Posted on June 10, 2019

Infographic courtesy of benthamsciencepublishers.com

It’s common for physicians to confuse type 1 with type 2 diabetes when first diagnosing adults over age 30 - a mistake that could lead to serious health problems, according to a recent report in MDLinx Internal Medicine.

The article cites a study that found that more than one-third of adults diagnosed over age 30 were told they had type 2 diabetes when they really had late-onset type 1. The problem is that clinical management of each type of diabetes is different. Receiving the wrong treatment could lead to fatal complications.

“If people with type 1 diabetes don’t receive insulin, they can develop very high blood glucose, and may develop a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis,” noted the article. By contrast, people with type 2 diabetes generally do not need insulin right away and that treatment is often delayed.

Part of the problem, according to the article, is that there are no clinical criteria that can reliably distinguish the two forms of diabetes. “It is very difficult to diagnose type 1 diabetes in older adults as most people of this age will have type 2, even if they are thin,” explained senior author Angus G. Jones, Ph.D., Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science, University of Exeter Medical School.

The study’s authors suggested that type 2 patients “who progress to insulin within 3 years of diagnosis,” should be re-evaluated using biomarker testing.

Medical misdiagnosis in Philadelphia happens more often than you may think. If you suspect that you or a loved one was injured to due to such an error and need an experienced medical malpractice attorney, contact us.