October 24


Newly Discovered Third Type of Diabetes Wrongly Diagnosed as Type 2

By Gabriela

October 24, 2017

Around 422 million people around the world have some form of diabetes, the most common being type 1 and 2. But, recently, scientists discovered a new type of diabetes which becomes even more common than type 1 diabetes in adults. It’s 3c diabetes.

A person’s body with type 1 diabetes is not able to produce insulin as a result of damaged pancreatic cells. It’s most common in children, but it can also appear during adulthood.

On the other hand, type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, develops when the body is not able to use insulin properly. Usually, it occurs during adulthood.

The newly discovered type 3c diabetes develops due to pancreatitis (pancreas inflammation), pancreatic surgery, abnormal growth of tissue on the pancreas, or pancreatic tumor.

So, besides impairing the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, it also affects its ability to produce digestive proteins and other hormones.

This form of diabetes follows some pancreatic damage.

A Large Scale Study on Type 3 Diabetes

According to a recent study, many people with a past pancreatic disease are misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes when, in fact, they have 3c diabetes. This means providing a wrong treatment for the patient.

Researchers from the study analyzed health records from more than two million people of all ages in England. Their purpose was to discover the prevalence and causes of type 3c diabetes.

The journal Diabetes Care published the results which show the shocking percent of type 3c diabetes patients (with a previous pancreatic disease) misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes – 97.3%.

Smaller studies discovered that most type 3c diabetes patients need insulin. But, they could also benefit from taking digestive enzyme tablets with meals and snacks.

Moreover, the study discovered that this form of diabetes is more common than type 1 in adults. Also, they have 50% higher risk of poor blood glucose management than those with type 2 diabetes.

What’s more, people with 3c diabetes have 5-10 times higher risk of needing insulin than type 2 diabetes patients. Still, this depends on their pancreas disease.

In many cases, the onset of this new form of diabetes is long after the onset of some pancreas damage. So, the long gap between these two events could be the reason why they are not connected at the beginning. And, the reason why many of them are misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes.


Diagnosing a patient with the right type of diabetes is crucial for proper treatment. For example, gliclazide and another type 2 diabetes drug might not be useful for people with type 3c.

So, misdiagnosing can worsen one’s blood glucose levels, spending their time and money on ineffective treatment.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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