Understanding Diabetes: Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a traumatizing. Most of the fear surrounding the disease comes from the lack of knowledge about it. Most people have heard about the disease, but know very little or nothing about it. So when you or your loved one is diagnosed with the disease panic set in.

Diabetes is a medical term that refers to a group of metabolic diseases in which the patient develops blood sugar or high blood glucose. There are 2 types of the disease, Type1 and Type 2. The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is determined by the health conditions that are the root cause of the rise in the blood sugar.

Difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes results from the patient’s immune system starting to produce antibodies that fight against the islet cells that make insulin in the pancreas. So, gradually the patient’s immune system destroys the insulin producing cells.

The result of this is that the body is no longer able to make it own insulin, and the patient has to rely on administered insulin. The reasons for this autoimmune activity are still being studied. However, it’s a complex interplay of genetics and environmental conditions.

Type2 diabetes is a condition where the patient’s body is unable to adequately utilize the insulin produced in the pancreas because of insulin resistance. This is a situation where the patient’s body cells lose sensitivity to insulin.

The result is that the insulin produced in the pancreas is no longer able to control blood sugars. As is the case in Type 1 diabetes, genetics play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. So a family history of this disease increases the risk of developing it.

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Lifestyle factors and Type 2 diabetes

In Type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors play the central role in the development of the disease. In fact, physical inactivity and obesity have been proven to be the major factors in the development of the disease.

This is because physical inactivity and excess weight reduce the effectiveness of insulin. So keeping active and maintaining a healthy body weight can prevent or at least help to delay the onset of the Type 2 diabetes. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States designed the 10,000 steps a day program to help Americans to stay active and prevent the incidents of the disease. However, there is no known method of preventing or delaying the onset of Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease in that insulin resistance can increase with time. When this happens, the patient’s pancreas has to make higher levels of insulin to overcome the resistance. This overworks the pancreas and eventually, it stops making insulin. So in the advanced stages of the disease patients have to rely on administered insulin.

The blood test

Doctors conduct a blood test to determine the type of diabetes a patient is suffering from. The blood test is used to detect the presence of antibodies. Most patients with Type 1 diabetes have some or all the antibodies that are checked.

The age factor

Type 1 diabetes develops before the patents reach the age of 40. It is more common among children with incidence peaking between 12 and 14 years. Though Type1 diabetes is mostly diagnosed in children and young adults, there is latent Type 1 diabetes in some adults that develops after the patients reach age 30.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops after patients attain 40 years. In childhood, it is commonly diagnosed at puberty. This is because lifestyle conditions such as obesity and physical inactivity are risk factors. In fact, the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States is contributing to a high incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children.

Symptoms

The symptoms are similar in both types of the disease. Patients must be put on insulin and they have to take it daily, and with every meal, for the rest of their lives. Insulin can be administered by means of the traditional syringe, a pump, or through an insulin pen. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, oral medication is not a treatment option.

Type 1 diabetes needs a sound education on the process of preparing and injecting insulin. Parents and patients must be clear on the when what, and how to eat, and how to check blood sugars. Also, they need to be informed on how to handle the blood sugar when it is too high or too low. Furthermore, there is a need to be educated on what to do if the patient is unwell and cannot eat.

Type 2 diabetes has a number of treatment options. Lifestyle changes have been shown to play an important role in the management of Type 2 diabetes. Increased physical activity, dietary changes, and weight management significantly improve insulin sensitivity. So exercise, proper diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are critical parts of the treatment plan.

Patients with the disease may be prescribed oral medication. This may help the body cells improve their sensitivity to insulin. In the more advanced stages of the Type 2 diabetes, patients have to be put on insulin.

Family support

Support is very important when someone is diagnosed with the disease. Children suffering from the disease need adults support to help them develop into healthy, responsible, and self managing adults. Education is critical to the successful management of both types of diabetes. Parents can acquire the necessary knowledge by working closely with the diabetes educator and the child’s diabetes care providers. Whether the patient is a child or an adult, a supportive family environment is critical.

Parting words

A sound education is critical in the management of the disease. Type 1 diabetes needs a sound education on the process of preparing and injecting insulin. Parents and patients must be clear on the when what, and how to eat, and how to check blood sugars. Also, they need to be informed on how to handle the blood sugar when it is too high or too low. Furthermore, there is a need to be educated on what to do when the patient is unwell and cannot eat.

Lifestyle changes play an important role in the management of Type 2 diabetes. Increased physical activity, dietary changes, and weight management significantly improve insulin sensitivity. So exercise, proper diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are critical parts of the treatment plan.

Whether the patient is a child or an adult, a supportive family environment is critical. It is all about the family.

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