New here - diabetes, or something else?

Hello everyone - I joined here a few months ago. This is my first post. :) I have diabetes in my family - my mom and my older brother, both typical T2s (taking those news reports with a grain of salt that say all T2s are overweight). My mom died eight years ago at age 80 of a non-specified autoimmune disease that her doctors said caused cirrhosis and eventually complete liver failure. Which autoimmune disease? They had no idea. One that attacks the liver I guess. They said her diabetes didn't cause it. My brother just learned about his diabetes.

I've always been thin - 5' 6" and around 110 lbs. Each of my children weighed nearly 10 lbs when they were born. The nurses always asked me if I was diabetic. My eye doctor asks (I have some vision problems). No, and no. I was tested during my last pregnancy however, ten years ago, and I had gestational diabetes. (fyi - I weighed over 10 lbs too when I was born). And now some doctors will automatically ask me if my children are overweight because they weighed so much at birth (citing the "studies say" thing). But they're thin like me. Makes the doctors go..hmmmm. I've always had a ravenous sweet tooth - especially for chocolate, and if I get up in the morning with a headache I go straight for the chocolate (M & Ms), or cookies, or anything sweet that we have in the house (chocolate frosting right out of the can). It helps my headaches dissolve - strange, but true. I've had off and on had dizzyness, vertigo, shakiness, since my early 20s. But my fasting blood sugar isn't low. I am pretty sick to my stomach because I'm starving by the time I get to the lab. I have low blood pressure, 85/60 usually, so maybe that's it?

I feel like I'm 48 going on 108 these days. Within the last year I was diagnosed with Crohns (had that for years now that I finally know what it is), Hashimoto's thyroiditis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis - like a walking autoimmune disease. This past summer I was filing away my old medical labs and noticed that doctors had circled and marked some of the glucose readings as "borderline." They never brought it up to me so I guess it was no big deal. But I got curious enough (I'm a health writer - we're a curious breed anyway ;) to enter a LADA study where researchers were trying to learn more about diabetes. Just a simple fasting blood draw - easy. My FBG was normal. My A1C was 5.8 (nearly normal, they said), my C-peptide was "low normal" and my GAD was negative. They did note that if I ever gained weight (hard to do though, with Crohn's) that I "might" become T2. I'm thinking - are you kidding me? Has anyone else had a similar experience? Thin, dramatic cravings for sweets, a few "borderline" glucose results, previous gestational diabetes? But not diabetic? Does any of this make any sense? I'm confused and I've read studies and written about health topics for years! There's a lot of inherited autoimmune disease in my family, especially on my mom's side, but only spotty diabetes connections. Glad to be a member here, especially because of my family history I've always been interested in diabetes. But maybe it's my other autoimmune diseases that occasionally skew my glucose results?

Hi Jackie,

One of the things that we know for sure is that autoimmune diseases tend to bunch in people. If you have one autoimmune disease, you have a much higher likelihood of having others. Crohns, hashimotos, lupus, and RA are all correlated with diabetes. However, they are much more highly associated with Type 1 diabetes. Since you have had a c-peptide and GAD, and they both came back negative, you are probably not type 1. Type 2 would be a possibility since you have that family history, but your A1C is good, and if your FBG is normal you probably don’t have much, if any, insulin resistance.

If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about diabetes right now, since you’ve done a very thorough job of staying on top of it. I would recommend that you buy a glucometer and just check your fasting numbers on occasion to monitor in case anything changes. Because you are at an elevated risk of diabetes from your family history, it won’t hurt anything (except your finger) to check once in a while and make sure you OK. If you do start to see a rise in your fasting numbers, then you should talk to your doctor or endocrinologist.

Oh, and don’t worry about that sweet tooth - we all have one. :slight_smile:

Welcome! I’ll add only one thing to Brett’s suggestion to get a test meter. One time a month test fasting. Then, one hour after a meal, test again. Write it down. The docs will want a record of how the BG go up, if they do. My guess after seeing what’s happening with others, is that after meals the rises may show themselves before the fasting does, and one hour post prandial shows it well if there’s an abnormality.

Hello Brett and Leo, thanks so much for your replies. My last A1C just came back - 5.6. Completely normal. Definitely not LADA. So that is one less illness to manage. Still feeling like crap but I’m sure that’s the Crohns, RA and lupus, talking. The doctor suggested that I have my A1C checked yearly since I had gestational diabetes but that point almost seems moot. My youngest child was born 10 years ago, so wouldn’t full blown diabetes have shown up by now? And they suggested I stay in an ideal weight range and not gain weight because with my family history I’d probably end up Type 2. I’m guessing that maybe the additional weight I was carrying during pregnancy set my pancreas off? Who knows? Doctors do seem to think though that being overweight is the most obvious red flag for Type2, but maybe not always? The endocriniologist was perplexed that my children aren’t overweight now, even though they were huge when they were born. But I was a big baby too so birth weight might be genetic? I hope that researchers continue to study and uncover more about diabetes, and I’ll certainly continue writing about health, but especially diabetes because it is so complex and it affects so many. So many people could be helped if they learn more about this disease. And maybe even one day, find the cure?

"Wouldn’t full blown…have shown up by now?"
Not necessarily.
Can be many years later - more than 10.