Other forms of diabetes... spontaneous in healthy people?

Answered on January 27, 2014
Created January 27, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Crazy thing is I just got reunited with my long-lost half brother. Says he's always been healthy but was mysteriously diagnosed with diabetes and doctors have no explanation. Supposedly there are as many as 5 types of diabetes, not just "Type I and Type II", but this is news to me! Are there types of diabetes that can legitimately strike healthy, active people who are not over weight around the age of 30? He says it's currently under control with "drugs" but no insulin.

He says "Yes, Doctors have no solid explanation for me. Diagnosed at 30 and not overweight. Nothing has worked to fix it, not lots of diet or lots of exercise, and I do not (yet) need insulin, a drug combo has been working."... and "But I am regularly warned that it can all go downhill any time, and likely will. Nice huh?" He seems to think it could be highly hereditary. I am about to turn 30 and have no reason to suspect diabetes! I'm pretty lost, anyone know what's going on here?

That sounds so dismal. Here I've been lead to believe that diabetes is completely treatable and even curable through diet and lifestyle changes. Am I missing something? I really want to help him.

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1 Answers


on January 27, 2014
at 09:34 PM

Diabetes can happen to anyone, young or old, skinny or fat, etc. Ironically many skinny people think that they are immune to diabetes because they are skinny but in reality, they are probably skinny because they have less insulin receptors or decreased insulin receptor activity which would result in decreased glucose absorption, a trait which would lead to decreased lipogenesis (making of fat). So while they might seem healthy because they are skinny and don't deposit as much fat, they're probably so because their bodies leave the glucose out of the cells and in the blood stream instead of absorbing it into the cells for storage.

While counter intuitive at first but it makes sense when you think about what happens to people who are type 1 or insulin-dependent type 2 and produce very little or no insulin. When they stop taking insulin or decrease the dose, not only do they have higher blood sugar levels but they simultaneously lose weight because their cells are unable to absorb glucose for energy (insulin is the primary glucose uptake hormone), meaning their cells are essentially starving. Paradoxically, diabetics who have very bad blood glucose control, with numbers into the 500s and 600s are often quite skinny.

Carbs accelerate this process, specially when combined with high amounts of fat (palmitic more than others), since the fat will induce a state of insulin resistance (to promote fat utilization over glucose) while the carbs elevate blood glucose. This places a very large demand on pancreatic beta cells which, in turn leads to progressive degeneration which ultimately results in beta cell dysfunction and apoptosis. The inability to regenerate these beta cells results in irreversible diabetes.

I have similar genetics despite being very lean, this is why I went low-carb with low/moderate protein. It is the only way to hold back the inevitable demise of our beta cells with age. Good luck to you and your half-brother.

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