Diabetes is the 7th leading killer in the nation. The end result is a patient who has high blood sugar levels because their body isn’t managing insulin properly. In some patients they don’t produce enough insulin and in others the body is resisting the insulin. The difference between types of diabetes separates type 1 from type 2.
Type 1: What Is It?
The first type diabetes, known as type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes, is a very serious disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin or slows down tremendously. Insulin is needed by the body because it allows glucose to enter the various cells and produce the energy needed for bodily functions.
Type 1 is less common than type 2 diabetes and understanding the difference between types of diabetes is important. The majority of affected patients are children and young adults. Their own immune system works against them by destroying necessary cells in the pancreas. The cells required to produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes does affect more people, but that shouldn’t overshadow the significance of juvenile diabetes, which affects more than 3 million Americans at this very moment. On average, about 15,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year. That’s around 40 children every day of the year.
The underlying cause of juvenile diabetes is still unknown. Many genes are involved in the process, thus it is possible to pass down an increased risk of developing the condition. Science shows that a child’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes is increased by as much as ten percent if the father also has the disease.
It is believed that environmental factors also play a role in a child’s risk of developing juvenile diabetes. Unfortunately, these exact factors have yet to be pinpointed. There are a lot of theories and possible causes out there, but nobody can say they are correct beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Some theories suggest the disease is initially triggered by a virus. It is believed the Coxsackie virus causes an autoimmune response from the body. This is what leads the immune system to begin destroying the beta cells needed for insulin production. This is only one possible theory and is not supported by everyone.
Type 1: Treating The Condition
Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile diabetes. The patient must learn to manage their insulin levels themselves and constantly watch their blood sugar levels. They must begin eating a very carefully constructed diet and try to live an active lifestyle.
Their diet and exercise is meant to help balance their blood sugar levels. However, since the pancreas cannot produce the insulin these people require, a daily insulin injection is required. Living with type 1 diabetes is tough and requires some change, but it can be done.
Type 2: How Is It Different?
Type 2 diabetes is very different from its juvenile counterpart. About 90 percent of all diabetic cases are type 2 diabetes. There are more than 27 million patients with type 2 diabetes in America alone.
There’s also an alarming 86 million patients in a pre-diabetic state. This means their blood sugar levels are not normal, but not quite at the stage of being diabetic. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that is often developed in response to one’s lifestyle and thus can be prevented.
The main difference between types of diabetes is that with type 1 the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin; however, with type 2 the pancreas still produces insulin like normal, but the cells can’t handle the insulin properly. The cells create what is referred to as a resistance to insulin. The pancreas will try to solve the problem itself by creating even more insulin, but in time it won’t be able to produce enough and blood glucose levels will raise.
Type 2: What Are The Causes?
The two leading risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes are genetics and weight, with weight being the most significant. Studies show that obesity causes the body to create a natural resistance to insulin. The placement of the extra body fat can make a difference as well. As childhood obesity becomes more common, type 2 diabetes in children is becoming more common as well.
Type 2: Can It Be Prevented?
Preventing type 2 diabetes is entirely possible and under your control. If the primary risk factor is weight gain, then number one on your list should be controlling your weight. Even if you aren’t overweight at the moment, you should still start eating a healthy diet to prevent it from occurring in the future. A healthy diet and regular exercise are your best tools for preventing type 2 diabetes.
Dealing with any form of diabetes is extremely difficult. Always do whatever you can to prevent the disease, even if it requires some serious changes in your lifestyle.