Healthy Living

Type 3c Diabetes: Misdiagnosed and Mistreated

Type 3c Diabetes: Misdiagnosed and Mistreated

Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes have long been believed to be the major and most popular forms of diabetes to be diagnosed. Everyone understands that the most common forms, type 1 and type 2, result from insulin-related issues in a patient, while gestational diabetes is present in pregnant patients.  In recent years, a new type of diabetes, type 3c, has become a new form of diabetes, but unlike the other forms, it's more commonly mistreated and misdiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood and as such, type 1 diabetes is more common in the younger audience while type 2 diabetes is more popular in adults, and it is the result of the pancreas' inability of to make enough insulin within the body. However, type 3c has many symptoms that are often misdiagnosed and it primarily begins with a damaged pancreas. Researchers have also revealed that the pancreatitis condition is one of the leading causes of misdiagnoses of type 2 diabetes in patients, who are actually suffering type 3c.

A newer study that covered over two million participants inferred that over 97.3 percent of the patients with pancreatic disease, with either acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatic disease, have been misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes even when this is a common symptom of type 3c diabetes, and irrespective of a seven times higher than normal increased insulin requirement within the space of 5 years, by which time, 45.8 percent of the patients with diabetes following the chronic pancreatic disease are placed on insulin.

Further understanding of type 3c diabetes

Type 3c diabetes is also referred to as pancreatogenesis diabetes, and it is not as popular as the more profound forms of diabetes. Type 3c diabetes will usually develop when the pancreas is inflamed or when some of it is removed, which subsequently leads to a complete stop in insulin production. A number of other disorders may lead to type 3c diabetes, some of which include:

  • Acute pancreatitis: Inflammation of the endocrine pancreas due to gallstones and excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis is usually an inherited disorder that results in the progressive scarring and inflammation of the pancreatic glands, which occur as a result of some blockage of the pancreatic ducts by the mucus plugs
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatectomy: The removal of the pancreas via surgery
  • Hemochromatosis: An inherited disorder resulting from the excessive amount of iron in the body, including the pancreas.
  • Pancreatic agenesis : The absence or development of defects in the pancreas organ
  • Chronic pancreatitis: This is a critical condition resulting from extensive damage due to pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis accounts for 80 percent of the conditions that are linked to type 3c.
  • Another study with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that 3 percent of cases of people with type 3c diabetes have been diagnosed correctly. This leaves a large percentage of misdiagnoses, and these high cases of misdiagnoses have resulted in the application of non-effective and in some cases, non-relevant treatments for patients with type 3c diabetes.

For type 3c diabetes patients, there is a high insulin requirement, but a study has found that many patients can benefit from taking digestive enzyme tablets with an alternative treatment that is distinct from type 1 and type 2, and mainly focuses on pancreatic activity.  So, the importance of a proper diagnosis and the correct identification of the type of diabetes symptoms present in each patient is imperative because of its effectiveness in the proscription and prognosis of correct treatments.

As the condition has been mostly misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes, treatments will be found to be ineffective, such as the case of the application of gliclazide, which works well for the former and less effective for the latter. Misdiagnoses can therefore waste the time, effort and money of the patient who is using treatments that are ineffective since the patient is still suffering from type 3c diabetes and high levels of blood sugar.

Due to the high level of misdiagnoses of the type 3c diabetes condition, there was another medical study that was aimed at a large-scale population to find the frequency of type 3c diabetes and the extent to which a patient’s condition is managed. The analysis of the research that covered over 2 million patients revealed a surprising fact that type 3c diabetes was more common than type 1 diabetes in adults. The study also showed that 1.6 percent of the new cases of diabetes in adults were attributed to type 3c diabetes while just 1 percent of the cases were caused by type 1 diabetes. In terms of blood sugar levels, the amount of people with type 3c diabetes were also 2 times likely to experience unhealthy blood sugar levels compared to those with type 2 diabetes. Type 3c diabetes patients were also 5 – 10 times more likely to require insulin depending on their type of pancreatic disease.

The same study infers that the onset of type 3c diabetes could begin to manifest long after the beginning of the pancreas injury, and in many cases, it has been found to take more than ten years for the symptoms to show. This long lag between the manifestation of the symptoms of type 3c diabetes and the onset of the pancreas condition has been suggested as one of the reasons why the two medical occurrences are not often linked or related, thus causing misdiagnosis or overlooking of the early symptoms of type 3c diabetes. The importance of a correct diagnosis and identification of cases of type 3c diabetes cannot be overemphasized, and identifying the effects caused by damage to the pancreas is imperative to giving appropriate treatment and management programs and arrangements.

In exocrine pancreatic diabetes, there is a reduced production of insulin, which is a consequence of the beta cell dysfunction that accompanies the pancreatic inflammation or absolute loss of beta cells. Additionally, the pancreatic polypeptide regulates the expression of insulin receptors in the liver, as well as the loss of these proteins that may cause a hepatic insulin resistance; the hepatic insulin resistance is one of the most important physiological differences existing between type 1 diabetes and diabetes related to the exocrine pancreas.

Type 3c diabetes is also characterized by severe hypoglycemia. This condition has been linked to the diminished production of glucagon from the pancreatic beta cells. The inability to recognize this alteration in physiology can result in suboptimal treatments, while newer incretin-based agents would be deemed as contraindications due to the presence of pancreatic damage. Insulinopenic patients that are suffering from exocrine pancreas diabetes may be deemed poorly compliant should they be misdiagnosed with the type 2 diabetes condition and demonstrate resistance to the use of antihyperglycemic agents.

Conclusively, exocrine pancreas diabetes significantly differs from conditions such as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In order to ensure adequate treatment and management, proper diagnosis should be made to investigate and ascertain the condition. Type 3c diabetes is mostly diagnosed as other forms and patients tend to receive treatments that are ineffective. To correct misdiagnoses, doctors are advised to learn about the health history and cases of pancreatic disease within the patient when they first diagnose them, as well as considering the possibility of exocrine pancreatic diabetes rather than ruling it out entirely.