Diabetes is generally defined as elevated blood sugar, but since there are many causes of elevated blood sugar, it’s classified into different types. Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body cannot make insulin or can only make a very small amount of insulin. Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body develops a resistance to insulin combined with an inability to make enough insulin. Which type you have will determine the best course of action for treatment.
The Role of Insulin in Various Types of Diabetes
When you eat an apple, your body turns it into sugar or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin, which allows the glucose to pass from the bloodstream into the cells to produce energy. The inability to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to very high glucose levels in the blood. Over the long-term, this is associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues. Understanding the role of insulin in overall health is crucial in learning how to treat your diabetes effectively. Click To Tweet
Type 1 Risk Factors & Symptoms
Increased risk of type 1 diabetes occurs when there is a family history or genetic predisposition. Exposure to certain viruses are also shown to increase your risk. Although type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, there are noticeable peaks in kids between the ages of 4 and 7, and again in children between 10 and 14. Symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination, including bed-wetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed. Extreme hunger, weight loss, fatigue and mood changes may also occur.
Type 1 Treatment
Prevention is not possible in cases of type 1 diabetes. Treatment includes daily insulin injections, regular insulin or glucose testing, and following a doctor-recommended diet plan. Medication may also be prescribed, depending on the risk of complications.
Type 2 Risk Factors & Symptoms
Being overweight is a big risk factor for type 2 diabetes, particularly if your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen. While you don’t have to be overweight to develop diabetes, the less physically active you are, the greater your risk of developing diabetes. Physical activity can help you control your weight, and also uses up stored glucose as energy. Other risk factors are a family history of type 2 diabetes, race, age (over 45) and a diagnosis of prediabetes. Symptoms mirror those experiences with type 1 diabetes, but can also include persistent yeast infections, extremity numbness, and patches of darkened skin.
Type 2 Treatment
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, or limit the risk of complications after a diagnosis. Even if you have several risk factors, proper diet and exercise can help prevent the disease. Your doctor may also prescribe medications in addition to lifestyle changes.
Other Instances of Diabetes
There are rare instances wherein diabetes is not type 1 or type 2, but a miscellaneous category that includes unusual inherited or acquired causes of diabetes. This represents a small minority of people with diabetes and includes gestational diabetes in pregnant women, and diabetes resulting from other conditions or medications.
A diagnosis of diabetes requires regular contact with a doctor that specializes in this unique chronic condition, known as an endocrinologist. He or she will be able to help you manage and monitor your diabetes, and provide a treatment plan to help ease your symptoms and prevent complications.
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