I lost over 50 pounds in the two years leading up to my diabetes diagnosis. I didn’t know that the weight loss was a symptom of anything going wrong. I had previously struggled with unexplained weight gain, so unexplained weight loss I welcomed.
The Mayo clinic maintains a page listing potential causes of unexplained weight loss. Diabetes is listed there. This can be confusing, as being overweight or obese is actually a risk factor for Type II Diabetes. However, if a person has diabetes and it’s not being treated, weight loss can happen as a symptom of the illness. This is more commonly seen in Type 1 Diabetes or LADA Diabetes. Diabetes is actually a term for a family of different illnesses, which have different root causes and treatment.
LADA Diabetes is similar to Type 1 Diabetes. The main differences is that LADA Diabetes usually happens in adulthood and that the onset is more gradual. The cause of LADA Diabetes is an auto-immune issue, just like for Type 1. The treatment is insulin. Without insulin, weight loss occurs, and it is a symptom of being sick.
Weight loss is not always a good thing
As I was losing weight, I got compliments about my looks from friends and complete strangers! I took a walk around the neighborhood for exercise, and neighbors would congratulate me on my new look. I found this disturbing that they were observing my weight loss and felt OK to comment on it.
Some people were clearly inspired by my apparent success. They saw me exercising and they saw the weight loss, and thought that I was so driven and successful at achieving weight loss.
Instead, I was sick… I needed insulin but did not know it.