Diabetes is a common topic in today’s news. Therefore, most people have heard of diabetes and about the risks and causes associated with the disease. But, what few people know is that there are two relatively different types of diabetes, with quite different causes and risk factors.
Most of the media’s news reports are strictly about Type 2 Diabetes. It is rare for a report to define Diabetes as Type 1 or Type 2. Unfortunately, this is misleading to those seeking information. So, just what is Type 2 Diabetes? And equally important, what is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes occurs most commonly in adults, and accounts for close to 90% of all diabetes cases in America. Most people with Type 2 are still able to produce some insulin, which is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugars for energy. Risk factors that can lead to developing Type 2 Diabetes include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor cholesterol levels, increased age, and heredity.
Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes often starts with lifestyle corrections. These include dietary changes and implementation of an exercise program. Oral medications may be prescribed to help with insulin absorption; and some people may eventually require insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels in control.
The often neglected step-child when it comes to news reporting is Type 1. This type of diabetes, which occurs most commonly in children and young adults, is actually an autoimmune disease. The individual’s insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas are gradually destroyed by the body so that the individual no can no longer produce insulin. The causes of Type 1 diabetes are not fully understood, but researchers believe that genetics play a large part in being predisposed to an attack. The trigger for an attack of the beta cells may be viral, chemical, or perhaps even environmental. This attack of the immune system then results in the continual and complete destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Diagnosis and treatment of Type 1 Diabetes is typically made in a hospital or emergency room. When this is the case, insulin injections are started immediately to replace the failing insulin production of the pancreas. A Type 1 diabetic requires numerous injections daily for the remainder of their lifetime.
A key difference between the two types of Diabetes is that of prevention. Type 2 Diabetes can often be avoided or held at bay with lifestyle changes; Type 1 Diabetes usually hits fast, with no understood trigger and no known means of avoidance.