Did You Know that Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are Not The Same Diseases?
Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a disease that affects millions of people worldwide. In fact with the rates of diabetes increasing exponentially, it is not wrong to say that the disease has assumed epidemic proportions. In the U.S. alone more than 100 million people have diabetes, according to the CDC. Worldwide figures are a lot higher. (1)
Did you know that the commonest forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2 are not the same? (2) While they have some symptoms in common, the cause of each form of diabetes is different as is the treatment.
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What are the Causes of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is actually an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin cells in the pancreas so the body effectively has no insulin to use the glucose released by digestion. Why this happens is not yet understood as research is ongoing in this regard. It is usually hereditary. It affects only 10% of the people suffering from diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes affects the remaining 90%, so is much more common. While there may be a genetic factor in this disease, the risk factors increase with a poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, age, and other factors. (3)
What are the Major Differences in Treatment?
Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes since it affects young people as well. When the body does not produce any insulin, it cannot use the glucose in the food and this can lead to different problems. In children who have Type 1 diabetes, quick diagnosis is important so that their growth is not affected. In the case of Type 1, diabetes insulin injections at designated intervals are absolutely necessary to manage the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is relatively easier to manage as the body still produces insulin, though not in sufficient quantities. To improve insulin production and other mechanisms that can be used to treat Type 2 diabetes a number of oral drugs are advised, often in combination. This depends on individual requirements, family history, blood sugar levels, age, and various other factors. (4)
Why You Should Be Concerned if you have Diabetes
Whether it is Diabetes Type 1 or Type 2, the disease needs correct treatment. In this case, patient compliance is of utmost importance, so whether it is injections or drugs, you need to take them on time and as advised.
Diet and physical activity also play an important role in disease management. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, you may have to check sugar levels before taking insulin. As far as Type 2 diabetes is concerned, regular monitoring in the initial stages is required so that you find the balance between the drugs you take and your food intake.
Poorly treated diabetes can lead to many complications such as:
- Heart attack
- Kidney damage
- High blood pressure
- Nerve damage
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Foot damage (diabetic foot)
- Frequent fungal and other infections
- Increased risk of gangrene resulting in amputation
For all these reasons and for your general health and well-being, you should take good care when you suffer from any form of diabetes. (5)
If you have never bothered about the kind of food that you eat or exercise, a diagnosis of diabetes should be a wake-up call for you. Make the right food choices, eating complex carbohydrates and foods that have a low glycemic index, avoiding simple sugars and sweets, refined foods and foods you know are bad for you.
At the same time get moving physically. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity can lead to diabetic complications if you don’t manage your diabetes well.
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