Prediabetes can be associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

We generally assume a diagnosis of prediabetes points us towards a future risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but we should not overlook an association or pre-diabetic stage surrounding type 1 diabetes.

We generally assume a diagnosis of prediabetes points us towards a future risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). Most nationally-led health campaigns surrounding prediabetes clearly define the link between prediabetes and risk of developing T2D. A majority of clinical statistics show individuals undergoing prediabetes diagnostic testing will have a direct link to the disease of T2D.

However, we should not overlook an association or pre-diabetic stage surrounding type 1 diabetes (T1D). A study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health revealed that type 1 diabetes occurs in 90 percent of patients with no family history of the disease. Although the peak incidence occurs during adolescence, there are data to suggest that 5–10 percent of all adults diagnosed with T2D may actually have T1D, (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults [LADA]). It may be possible that individuals had (pre-diabetic) signs and symptoms of the disease prior to diagnosis.

To help categorize the scope of diabetes, refer to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s glossary of diabetes definitions:

  • Diabetes - A condition characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) resulting from the body’s inability to use blood glucose for energy.
  • Type 1 diabetes - A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.
  • Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults - A type of diabetes, usually first diagnosed after age 30, in which people show signs of both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Most people with LADA still produce their own insulin when first diagnosed and do not require insulin injections. Some experts believe that LADA is a slowly developing kind of type 1 diabetes because patients have antibodies against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Several years after diagnosis, people with LADA must take insulin to control blood glucose levels.
  • Type 2 diabetes - A condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in children, teens, and young people.
  • Prediabetes - A condition where blood glucose or hemoglobin A1C levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. 

If you have prediabetes or if you have been told you are at a high-risk for diabetes, routine clinical and medical testing can help manage your health and monitor your diabetes risk. To learn more about diabetes symptoms and diabetes risk throughout the lifespan, visit Michigan State University Extension

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