Diabetes Mellitus

Even though Diabetes (type II) and its complications from advanced stages are some of the biggest problems plaguing our healthcare system today due to their prevalence, Diabetes is still on the list of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions. All types of diabetes affect how the body utilizes glucose or blood sugar. Blood glucose levels are too high in all types of diabetes.  Diabetes is separated into three different types depending on the reason why the blood glucose is not being processed. 

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus can occur in women during pregnancy who were not previously diabetic. This type of diabetes typically goes away after the baby is delivered. It is detected by screening during pregnancy. Women who have experienced gestational diabetes are said to be at a greater risk for developing type II diabetes mellitus. Most women with gestational diabetes do not require insulin but are able to modify blood glucose through diet and exercise.

Insulin is a hormone that is normally produced by the pancreas to allow the liver cells and skeletal muscle cells to take up excess glucose from the blood. The excess glucose is stored in the liver and muscle cells as glucagon. When blood glucose levels are too low, the liver and muscle cells can release glucagon stores to get the blood glucose levels regulated. Tight control of blood glucose levels is extremely important. the human brain is a greedy organ requiring constant glucose influx.

Type I diabetes mellitus, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes is characterized by a pancreas that fails to make insulin. Daily insulin injections and vigilant blood glucose monitoring are required to maintain blood sugar levels within their proper range. Type I diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune-produced disease.

Type II Diabetes Mellitus, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is characterized by the cells of the body being less responsive or unresponsive to insulin -- even though the pancreas is still making it. Modified diet and exercise can get some type II diabetes cases under control without medication. If pharmaceutical intervention is necessary, then medications that increase cell insulin recognition are useful, or medications that decrease blood sugar levels by decreasing the liver's production of glucose. Poor diets, excess weight gain,  and lack of physical activity are suspected harbingers of type II diabetes.

Symptoms of a person presenting with diabetes are the cardinal “polys.” That is polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia. Polyuria is frequent urination -- as the body tries to rid itself of excess glucose through the passing of urine. Increased urine output dehydrates and then the person experiences increased thirst -- known as polydipsia. The body’s inability to use blood sugar (whether due to no insulin or decreased insulin recognition by cells) makes the body extremely hungry. The sugar is there -- the body just doesn’t know it. The body attempts to compensate by having the person eat more, so they experience the symptom known as polyphagia. Other symptoms of diabetes can be weight loss, nausea, and/or vomiting. Infections of the skin, vagina, or bladder can occur concurrently with diabetes as increased sugar levels encourage the growth of Candida albicans bacteria. Diagnosis of diabetes is done by the testing of blood glucose levels while fasting, or an oral glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes.

Diabetes misdiagnosis can happen due to:

  • Lab mix-ups
  • Misinterpreting blood glucose levels/ranges 
  • Oral glucose tolerance test levels not done in correct time frames
  • Not checking patient history for medications that can affect blood glucose levels

An extensive list of drugs that elevate blood glucose levels can be found at the following link:

Failing to diagnose diabetes mellitus can lead to many health complications or death. Most US obstetricians test women in their third trimester of pregnancy for gestational diabetes. Failure to diagnose gestational diabetes can lead to dangerously elevated blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and the need for an emergency C-section delivery. 

If you or a loved one experienced a worsening of your medical condition or death due to a medical misdiagnosis, or a failure to diagnose, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to determine if you have a misdiagnosis medical malpractice case. The Sweeney Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis if we decide to accept your case. This means that we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.