People with diabetes are needed for new research which will explore wrong diagnoses of the condition.
A team from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is appealing for people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes to volunteer to take part in the 16-week project.
The aim of the work is to detect whether people have been wrongly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, when they might have type 1 diabetes or latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood (LADA).
Sometimes referred to as type 1.5, LADA is an autoimmune disease and, in most cases, a person diagnosed with the condition will become dependent on insulin eventually.
The trial will involve using an exercise programme among those with diabetes to see how their body responds to the regular activity. The researchers will be able to review whether there are differences in response to exercise depending on people’s true type of diabetes.
Professor Joan Taylor said: “We believe there are people with type 1.5 diabetes who think they are type 2, but their real condition has not been spotted and they are in fact insulin-dependent type 1. They are not realising they are not producing enough insulin at all.
“It is not a very common condition, but this research is about getting people recognised early enough to make a marked difference to their lives.”
Prof Joan Taylor notes that a late diagnosis can have consequences for people’s future health if LADA is incorrectly diagnosed as type 2 diabetes: “Eye damage and nerve damage could be busy developing while not being treated properly. It may take months or even years before they are properly diagnosed.
“We may not be able to give a definite diagnosis, but the results of the research will let them know if they have to get further help for their diabetes and avoid further complications later in their life.”
In a bid to carry out their work, the team require people aged between 30 and 65 who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Volunteers must be able to participate in a series of exercise sessions in Leicester over 16 weeks.
Professor Taylor added: “The sessions are one to one so that means we do not just pay attention to what their results are, we are also here to listen. A lot of people with type 1 or type 2 want to talk about the condition and want time to talk through their current lifestyle and any difficulties they are having.
“The people who have taken part before have really lapped it up. They are not only contributing to important research, but they are benefitting from the exercise.
“We have had a few cases in previous research where people notice they are less tired, blood glucose goes down and they experience a reversal in type 2 due to following the recommended diet changes and experiencing weight loss.”
As a thank you to those who have dedicated their time to the research, volunteers will be given a 50 per cent discount on gym membership.