Diabetes is a chronic condition that can lead to a tremendous number of health complications, so a diagnosis can turn your life upside down. Effective treatment is essential to avoid many of those long-term complications and to remain healthy.

Here’s the problem: Your odds of being misdiagnosed as an adult may be greater than one out of three — and that can lead to delayed treatment or incorrect treatment that continues for decades.

Patients with Type 1 diabetes, which is often erroneously referred to as “juvenile diabetes,” are unable to produce insulin at all, while those with Type 2 diabetes can produce insulin but their bodies don’t use it effectively. Correspondingly, the treatment for the two disorders is actually very different. Unlike those with Type 2 diabetes, those with Type 1 cannot manage their condition through exercise, weight loss or pills. Failure to treat someone with Type 1 diabetes with insulin and regular glucose monitoring can lead to blindness, amputations, kidney failure and death.

Type 1 diabetes is frequently diagnosed in childhood, but it can actually occur at any age. In fact, 42% of Type 1 cases occur in adults who are 30 years of age or older.

Despite this fact, researchers found some shocking statistics when they looked closer at what goes on with diagnoses: Fully 38% of patients who develop Type 1 diabetes as an adult were initially diagnosed and treated for Type 2 diabetes instead. According to researchers, lab testing for certain markers of Type 1 diabetes and a better exploration of a patient’s exact symptoms and medical history could help prevent serious mistakes. They also say that insulin dependency within three years of diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes is an indication that a misdiagnosis was made.

If you’ve been misdiagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and inadequate treatment led to serious complications, it may be time to find out more about your legal options.