What is Severe Insulin-Deficient Diabetes (SIDD)?

Severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD) is a subtype of type 2 diabetes. Healthcare providers use subcategories to classify diabetes by the associated risk of complications, comorbidities, genetics, and response to treatment. Knowing the subcategory of your type 2 diabetes helps your provider offer more personalized treatment options.

Keep reading to learn what makes SIDD different than other types of diabetes and what a SIDD diagnosis means for you.

Types of Diabetes

There are three major types of diabetes, as follows:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that prevents insulin production. This form of diabetes often develops in childhood and used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes usually develops later in life and is a condition in which your body doesn't make enough insulin to process the glucose you take in, or your body doesn't respond to the insulin you make, which is known as insulin resistance. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop in people who did not have diabetes before their pregnancy. It goes away when the baby is born; however, it can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Untreated, gestational diabetes can cause pregnancy complications.

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter your cells to supply them with energy. Without insulin (or a healthy insulin response), glucose can build up in your bloodstream, causing frequent urination, excessive thirst, and several other serious complications.

There are several subtypes of type 2 diabetes, including:

  • Severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD)
  • Severe insulin-resistant diabetes (SIRD)
  • Severe autoimmune diabetes (SAID)
  • Mild obesity-related diabetes
  • Mild age-related diabetes

Each subtype comes with specific criteria like the associated risk of complications, comorbidities, genetics, and response to treatment. SIDD is strongly related to certain complications, such as kidney disease and retinopathy.

Comparing Subgroups

Dividing diabetes into subgroups is a newer, more precise way to classify aspects of the condition. Below is an estimation of how common each subtype is in type 2 diabetes.

  • Mild age-related diabetes (MARD): 39%
  • Mild obesity-related diabetes (MOD): 22%
  • Severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD): 18%
  • Severe insulin-resistant diabetes (SIRD): 15%

SIDD Symptoms

The symptoms of the SIDD subtype are similar to other forms of type 2 diabetes. Some specific characteristics of SIDD include having:

Other symptoms common to other forms of type 2 diabetes include:

SIDD Causes

Like other forms of type 2 diabetes, SIDD is primarily caused by genetics and lifestyle behaviors. This type of diabetes usually develops later in life as a result of things like:

  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Increased belly fat
  • Insulin resistance

SIDD Complications

The biggest consideration with most subtypes of diabetes is the increased prevalence of particular complications. In particular, people with SIDD are more likely to experience the following:

Other subgroups carry a higher risk of additional complications. All the subtypes share the general complications associated with type 2 diabetes, including:


Your provider will look at six data points to determine your diabetes subtype. These data points include the following:

  • BMI
  • Age at diagnosis
  • HbA1c level
  • Beta-cell (the cells that make insulin) function
  • Insulin resistance
  • Diabetes-related autoantibodies

Treatments for SIDD

SIDD and other subtypes of diabetes are treated with diet and lifestyle changes, like carbohydrate control and exercise. Treatment may include oral antihyperglycemics such as Glucophage (metformin) or injected insulin.

Your healthcare provider may also recommend additional treatments like:


Diabetes is a lifelong condition. There is no cure, but you can manage the disease with the proper lifestyle changes, a proper diet, and medications. Adhering to the treatment plan you create with your provider can help keep your diabetes in check and prevent you from developing dangerous complications.

Coping With SIDD

Creating a plan that fits your lifestyle will help you adhere to your treatment regimen. You may find it helpful to involve your family, friends, healthcare provider, and technology. Below are some tips to improve your quality of life with diabetes:

  • Let yourself get upset: Living with diabetes can be difficult. Acknowledge these feelings and talk to someone about them. Get help, or reach out to a support group to share your experience with others.
  • Get financial help: The cost of diabetes supplies and medications can add up quickly. Talk to your healthcare provider or insurance company about financial assistance programs.
  • Accept help: Whether it's financial help or assistance with cooking, don't be afraid to ask for and accept help when it's offered.
  • Don't get overwhelmed: Do one thing at a time, and don't try to make too many changes at once.
  • Find things you enjoy: Whether it's an activity you love or a healthy snack, continue seeking out ways to enjoy yourself.


Diabetes is a serious, lifelong disease that can lead to complications if not managed correctly. Specific forms of diabetes, like SIDD, can increase your risk of certain complications, including vision problems and nerve pain. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to manage your diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it mean to be insulin deficient?

    Being insulin deficient means your body doesn't make enough of the hormone insulin for the amount of glucose in your body. Without enough insulin, glucose can build up in your blood and cause complications like heart or kidney disease or vision loss.

  • Does insulin deficiency cause weight gain?

    Not necessarily. While diabetes is sometimes associated with weight gain, you may lose weight with insulin deficiency. Without enough insulin to move glucose into your cells, your cells become starved for energy and waste away.

  • Does having an insulin deficiency mean I have diabetes?

    No. You can have insulin resistance or insulin deficiency without having diabetes. In these cases, you may have conditions called metabolic syndrome or prediabetes. If caught early enough, you may be able to avoid diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.