In Brief

Moms Petition to Rename Diabetes Types

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People with diabetes often use a blood sugar monitoring device to help them test and control sugar levels. (Image credit: Dreamstime.)

What's in a name? A lot, if that name happens to be the label of a disease, according to two moms who started a petition to change the names of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Despite having different causes — Type 1 diabetes is caused by an inability the produce the hormone insulin, while Type 2 diabetes is caused by a reduced ability to respond to insulin — these two conditions are often perceived by the public to be the same, the mothers say. Moreover, because Type 2 is more common, people may think the characteristics of this disease apply to Type 1, which is not the case, according to the moms, who both have sons with Type 1.

"Revising the names to more accurately reflect the nature of each disease would alleviate the confusion and would not only benefit those living with both diseases, but it would allow awareness to be raised in a clear manner," the mothers write in their petition on the website

The medical community should be the body to come up with the new names, the mothers say. But they offer examples, such as Autoimmune Beta Cell Apoptosis (BCA) for Type 1, and Insulin Resistance Diabetes (IRD), for Type 2.

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Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.