Diabetes is a common condition in our country, and the third leading cause of death – just behind heart disease and cancer, which account for about 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively – in the United States.
In today’s world, pretty much anyone can acquire diabetes, as this medical condition is caused by a combination of environmental and genetical factors, sedentary lifestyle, aging, as well as high-sugar and high-carbs diets.
In many cases, diabetes can be treated and many diabetics are able to control their condition through proper diet and regular exercise. Unfortunately, however, misdiagnosis of diabetes is not as rare as you might think.
“Statistics show that Type 2 diabetes is often misdiagnosed as Type 1 diabetes in adults, because Type 1 is wrongly thought to be a disease of childhood,” explains our Philadelphia misdiagnosis of diabetes attorney at The Weitz Firm, LLC. Getting the diagnosis wrong when you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can result in irrevocable complications and serious harm.
While it is true that the vast majority of adult diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, in no way does it mean that 100 percent of them have it. In fact, 96 percent of diabetics aged over 30 are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, while only 10 percent of diabetics of all ages have Type 1 diabetes.
Since, clearly, the vast majority of diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, some medical professionals may jump to a conclusion by misdiagnosing Type 2 diabetes as Type 1 diabetes without a thorough and comprehensive medical evaluation.
Our experienced misdiagnosis of diabetes attorney in Philadelphia also warns that persons who have diabetes – regardless of its type – can also be wrongly diagnosed to be healthy, as some doctors may be negligent, careless or simply inattentive when looking for symptoms of diabetes in patients.
Misdiagnosing Type 2 diabetes as Type 1 diabetes can cause serious complications, as these two types of diabetes must be treated very differently.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by either the body’s inability to produce a sufficient amount of insulin or the body cell’s inability to react to insulin. This creates insulin resistance, which means diabetics with Type 2 diabetes must adjust their diet, change their lifestyle, start exercising regularly, and/or be given medication that helps the body properly use the insulin it has. Diabetics with Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, suffer from an autoimmune disorder that destroys the cells making insulin in the body.
If a doctor gets the diagnosis wrong, he or she can be sued under the legal theory of medical malpractice. Even though it may seem as if almost all diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, it is not entirely true. In fact, in recent years, health departments in Pennsylvania and all across the U.S. reported that they have been seeing an uptick in the number of patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“Misdiagnosing Type 1 diabetes as Type 2 diabetes can cause serious harm to the patient,” warns our Philadelphia diabetes misdiagnosis lawyer. “When diagnosed wrongly and receiving improper treatment, diabetics with Type 1 diabetes can suffer organ failure (the kidneys are usually the first in line to be damaged).”
Also, when misdiagnosed, a diabetic’s body can run out of insulin, which in turn, will result in the development of ketoacidosis, which is characterized by harmful ketones accumulating in the body. Without proper treatment, ketoacidosis can lead to death. Interestingly, statistics show that 1 in 9 adults with Type 1 diabetes is admitted to emergency rooms with ketoacidosis.