Diabetes is something that is discussed often in the media at the moment, with some saying we are experiencing an epidemic of the disease due to rising rates of obesity and dietary sugar. However, when this is said, it refers to what is called type 2 diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are often confused by people who don’t have either condition, due to their similar names and the fact that type 2 diabetes is much more common.
They are, however, very different in their causes and symptoms, and while both relate to the production and use of insulin in the body, this is really the only similarity.
Onset of Type 1 Diabetes
One of the key differences between the two types of diabetes is when and how quickly they begin to show themselves. Type 1 diabetes is normally diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. It can come on at any time, though, which is why the old term for it, which was ‘juvenile diabetes’, is no longer commonly used. When type 1 diabetes is present, it can develop quite quickly and symptoms will progress rapidly, over the course of a few weeks, until diagnosis and treatment are received.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is different, and while it can happen at any time in someone’s life, there is greater risk in people over 45. Symptoms develop more slowly, in most cases, and may come on gradually over the course of months. Sufferers may also have a condition known as pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome – a form of insulin resistance that isn’t diabetes yet but is a strong indicator that someone is at risk of developing it.
Treatment + Reversal
Both types of diabetes require dietary changes to manage, as the body’s lack of insulin (type 1) or resistance to its own insulin (type 2) mean blood glucose levels can be a problem. There are foods that diabetics of both types have to avoid, and there are special products and recipes designed to allow them to enjoy the foods they like without the risk of blood sugar issues, such as the ones at easy-diabetic-recipes.com.
Insulin injections or an insulin pump are always used by people with type 1 diabetes as a way of controlling their condition because their bodies don’t create any insulin at all. This is not something that can currently be reversed or cured, so they need to manage their insulin levels this way for life.
Type 2 diabetes can often be managed just with lifestyle changes and diet, and can even sometimes be completely reversed. However, medical supervision and some medications that help the body use insulin better are generally needed.
Scientists still have much to learn about both kinds of diabetes, what the causes are and why some groups are genetically more at risk than others. This is a field where a lot of research is still being performed, so in future, there will hopefully be better solutions or even preventative measures for diabetic conditions.
Photo by Cecilia Par
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