Diabetes is a well-known disease and most people know that it is related to high levels of sugar in the blood. But few people are aware that there are actually two types of diabetes and their causes are quite different. Here we explain both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; the causes, symptoms and treatment of each, and how to lead as normal a life as possible if you or a loved one suffer from either form of the disorder.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes because the onset is much earlier in life. Type 1 diabetes can affect children from a very young age. This form of the disease is caused when the immune system destroys the pancreatic cells that make insulin which results in an insulin deficiency in the body. Without insulin the cells in the body are not able to absorb glucose, causing the sugar levels to rise in the blood.
Excessive need to urinate
Dehydration and feeling thirsty a lot
Feeling hungry often
While there is no cure for type 1 diabetes the condition can be managed. Treatments include:
- Insulin injections
- Sugar-free diet
- Monitoring of blood sugar levels
- Eating a nutrition-rich diet
- Exercising regularly
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes usually starts in adulthood. The condition is caused when cells are unable to use insulin to absorb glucose from the blood. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin but for certain reasons, cells have become resistant to the hormone. The condition can be brought on by obesity and being overweight, consuming high levels of sugar in food and drink, not getting enough exercise and physical activity, and high levels of stress.
Fatigue due to no glucose in cells
Unusual weight loss or gain
Excessive thirst and hunger
Wounds that don’t heal
Numbness and tingling sensation in feet
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be reversed and cured. Treatments include:
- Oral insulin pills or insulin injections
- Eating a special diet that is sugar-free and low in carbohydrates
- Getting enough exercise
- Weight loss
- Stress management
- Dietary supplements
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can adversely affect the quality of life if left untreated. However, with the right diet, medication and exercise the conditions can be controlled and individuals suffering from them can lead a close to normal life.