Type 2 diabetes, like many health conditions, can’t be treated with a one-size-fits-all solution. Numerous factors inform which therapies and treatments will be most effective for the individual.

What you might not know about diabetes

First of all, that there are two types, one of them an autoimmune disorder. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5% of the cases of diabetes in the U.S., and is characterized by the presence of autoimmune antibodies (in type 1, the body attacks its own insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells) as well as a negative C-peptide test result.

Type 2 is usually — but not always — associated with metabolic disorder and obesity. It’s characterized by one or more of several factors: underproduction of insulin by the body, underuse or under-absorption of insulin by the body, or other inappropriate glucose responses to food. In fact, that’s one reason there are so many different types of type 2 medications — we may not even be talking about the same disease in each case!

But here’s where it gets complicated, and where most folks — including trained clinical professionals — get it wrong: it is possible to have type 2 diabetes and NOT be obese, and it is possible to be obese and not have type 2 diabetes. What’s worse, type 1 diabetics who are obese may exhibit symptoms of metabolic disorder, but that does NOT make them type 2.

Needless to say, with that many variations, clinical treatment recommendations are all over the map.

The AACE Comprehensive Diabetes Algorithm (American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) is a comprehensive flowchart that guides and educates the clinician through the best course of treatment based on each patient’s specific considerations. It takes into account BMI, glycemic control, obesity, lifestyle and several other risk factors.

If you’re in the business of dealing with diabetic patients or clients, it’s something worth looking at!