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Type 1 vs. 2 Diabetes

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The Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

To an outsider, the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes may be
confusing. They are both similar disease that require insulin in order to
manage the diabetes and have a properly functioning body. But where it gets
confusing is the reason why the two different types of diabetics need the
insulin and which one has different treatment options.

Type 1 diabetes is not about lifestyle choices or a person's weight; when a
person is born their genetic make-up already make it likely they are going to
be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In most cases the diabetes is diagnosed in
childhood and that is why it is referred to as juvenile diabetes. Type 1
diabetics will have a choice of daily insulin injections (sometimes more) or an
insulin pump that provides a steady supply of insulin to the body. An insulin
pump also has the ability to provide a bolus (extra insulin) before meal times
or when needed. Type 1 diabetes can be managed by the options available for
treatment is limited.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and hereditary factors. In the majority of
people who are diagnosed they have a close family member who has diabetes (a
parent, grandparent, or a sibling) and they are typically overweight or obese.
There are choices available to people with type 2 diabetes in how it is
treated. It can be controlled by diet, oral medication, or insulin injections.
The choice will be made with the help of your doctor and the severity of your
disease. If you get your diabetes under control it is entirely possible that
you can downgrade your treatment method (from insulin injections to oral

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two diseases with the same name but they develop
in different ways.

Similarities between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

There are many differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes -- namely how and
why a person gets the disease. But there are also similarities. They include how
the disease is treated and diabetic diets that are followed.

Once diabetes is diagnosed it is no longer really a matter of why but how to
manage it. Whether it is type 1 diabetes and enough insulin is not being
produced or it is type 2 diabetes and the insulin that is being produced is not
being utilized the solution is to provide more insulin to the body. This is most
commonly done with an insulin injection in the morning or spaced out over the
course of the day with multiple injections. That will be determined on the
individual and their insulin needs -- not which type of diabetes they have.

It used to be that type 1 diabetes was found in children or young adults under
the age of 25 and type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in adults over the age of 40.
There have been many cases to the contrary proving that anyone may be at risk
of being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes -- adults have been diagnosed
with type 1 and young children have been found to have type 2 diabetes.

The management of either type of diabetes is also dependent on a healthy diet
and regular exercise. By maintaining a healthy body weight and keeping active a
person can reduce their insulin requirements and keep their blood sugars in a
safe range (set by their doctor).

Despite the different reasons for having diabetes, the two types are very
similar in other ways and the treatment plan that works does so for both.
Another common trait they share is the complications that can arise to internal
organs (especially the kidneys).

The Perception of Type 1 Diabetes versus Type 2 Diabetes

It is essentially the same disease in how it affects a person's body but they
are completely different in how they develop. In most news and media reports,
diabetes is linked with obesity and it is claimed that if more people lost
weight or became more active the number of people diagnosed would drop.

These reports can be upsetting to a diabetic with type 1 diabetes, it doesn't
matter what there body type is, was, or will be they will always have the
disease. There may be some animosity from type 1 diabetics towards type 2
diabetics but this would be misplaced -the media is creating this by not
telling the full story.

Yes, type 2 diabetes is intertwined with lifestyle choices and being
overweight. This is an epidemic that can be avoided. But not all people
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are considered obese or to be living an
unhealthy lifestyle.

Another problem with the misconception about type 1 diabetics is that they make
up a very small amount of the people diagnosed with the disease (approximately
10% of all diabetics are type 1). They are not getting as much attention in the
news and reports because it is not a growing concern like type 2 diabetes.

It is hard to be diabetic and read the news as it paints type 2 diabetics as
people who should just lose weight and they wouldn't have a problem. But it
should be noted that there are many people who are overweight and obese who do
not have diabetes and the opposite is true too -- people who maintain a healthy
body weight are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

It is important to remember that not all the information is being provided and
that there are many reasons and people who get this disease and they should not
be judged because of it.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes versus Type 2 Diabetes

In the majority of cases there will be warning signs and symptoms that
something is wrong and that you need a check-up at the doctor. There are
similar warning signs that overlap with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But there
are also symptoms that are specific to each type of the disease.

Symptoms for type 1 diabetes can include:

*  An increased thirst that is not satisfied after drinking extra fluids
*  A frequent need to urinate (more than normal)
*  A dry or fuzzy feeling inside the mouth
*  Unexplained and sudden weight loss
*  Feeling light-headed, weak or dizzy 
*  Sight problems such as blurry vision

Symptoms for type 2 diabetes can include:

*  Sharp or numbing pain in the legs
*  Cuts or bruises that take a long time to heal
*  Recurrent yeast infections
*  Sight problems such as blurry vision
*  An increased thirst that is not satisfied after drinking extra fluids 
*  A frequent need to urinate (more than usual)

Many of these symptoms do not always mean diabetes is the problem they can also
be indicative of other medical problems. It is a good idea to seek medical
attention if any of these signs show up. Symptoms for type 1 diabetes usually
come on very rapidly whereas symptoms for type 2 diabetes may develop gradually
over time.

In young children who are experiencing any of the symptoms it may be hard to
tell if they are just having a bad day or are really sick. Keep a close on
them, especially if they are younger and may not be able to articulate how they
are feeling very well. It is better to err on the side of caution and book a
doctor's appointment if there are any concerns that you might have.

What is Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes a person's pancreas is not able to make enough insulin for
the body to function properly. Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune
disease -- the body's cells attack the cells in the pancreas that produces
insulin either destroying them entirely or enough of them that there isn't
enough insulin.

People who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are often surprised because it is
not linked to lifestyle or a healthy body weight. As of now, there still is no
exact reason that researchers have found that causes a person to develop type 2
diabetes. Although there are risk factors that can increase the chances of
someone being diagnosed.

Another name for type 1 diabetes is juvenile diabetes. The reason for this is
because the majority of people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are under the age
of 25. There have been reported cases of patients being diagnosed with the
disease much older but those are exceptions. There may be a genetic link that
causes people to become insulin dependant but the exact link has yet to be

Diabetics with type 1 will have to take insulin for the rest of their lives.
The amount of insulin they take may vary with their diet and weight through the
years. Type 1 diabetics need to carefully monitor their urine for ketones every
morning as they are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis -- a
serious condition. This is your body's way of telling you it is not getting
enough fuel and is using fat cells as energy instead of the food that is being

The number of people with type 1 diabetes is relatively small compared to the
number of people who are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The numbers for
type 2 diabetes continue to grow with the obesity rates.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Where type 1 diabetics do not produce enough insulin for their body, type 2
diabetics produce the insulin but their bodies are not make proper use of it.
Type 2 diabetes has been linked to lifestyle choices as a large number of
people who are diagnosed are considered overweight or obese. The extra weight a
person carries around can make it hard for the body to process insulin properly.

Some additional risk factors for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes include a
family connections (a first or second generation family member) and race. Even
with these risk factors present a person can prevent out put-off a diagnosis
off type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and plenty of
physical activity.

Type 2 diabetes has in the past been diagnosed in patients over the age of 40
but in recent years people of all ages have been diagnosed with this disease.
There is an alarming number of young children who are being diagnosed with type
2 diabetes who are obese.

People who have not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may exhibit some of
these symptoms: Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) and skin infections. Moodiness
and irritability may also be a symptom of diabetes but is usually not one that
precipitates a trip to the doctor and is later explained by high or low blood
sugar levels. Other warning signs for type 2 diabetes are the same as type 1
diabetes such as an increased need to urinate, a desire to drink more and a
feel of lethargy or constant tiredness.

Type 2 diabetics have a range of options for treatment depending on personal
preference and their individual needs in contrast to type 1 diabetics whose
only option is to go on insulin injections or an insulin pump.

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops because the cells in the pancreas are not producing
enough or any insulin to process the food in the body into energy. The only way
to fix this is to inject insulin into the body to replace the insulin the body
should be producing on its own. Type 1 diabetes is also known as Insulin
Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) and requires insulin treatment for the
patient to survive. This is done by via insulin injections.

There are two different types of insulin that can be used and in most cases a
combination of the two is required. There is fast-acting insulin that is taken
and it will start working immediately or within 30 minutes after taking it.
This insulin is good for the beginning of the day before breakfast. If your
body goes through the insulin quickly another injection of the fast-acting
insulin may be required before dinner time. The other type of insulin is
long-lasting. It can be mixed with the fast-acting and injected at the same
time but can take upwards of 2-3 hours before it takes affect. Taking this
insulin the morning should work for lunch or dinner time meals.

If multiple needles to not appeal to you, an insulin pump is another option. It
is a machine that will pump fast-acting insulin into your system as needed.
Prior to meal times, a button can be pressed to inject an extra dose of insulin
to process the food that is going to be eaten. Some find this method offers
greater flexibility, a benefit that outweighs the fact the pump has to be worn
24 hours a day.

The other piece of the treatment puzzle is a balanced diabetic diet. In
addition to the insulin injections the food that is consumed is very important.
If the proper food is not eaten, blood sugar levels will rise and so will
insulin requirements.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the body is still producing insulin but it is not being
utilized properly. This is known as insulin resistance. When a person is
diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there are more treatment options available to
them as opposed to people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Depending on the blood sugar levels in a patient, their weight and other health
factors, the doctor will decide whether the diabetes can be controlled by one of
the following methods:

*  Diet and exercise -- a healthy balanced diet with regular exercise can be
   used for people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar 
   levels are only slightly elevated 

*  Oral medication -- is for patients whose blood sugars are higher than they 
   should be but not to the point that necessitates an injection of insulin 

*  Insulin injections -- a daily injection (or more) of insulin is needed when 
   higher blood sugars are present

A type 2 diabetic may cycle through the different treatment methods throughout
their lifetime. It is based on how well they are managing their diabetes and
how their body is reacting to the treatment plan. Some people will never have
to go past the diet and exercise portion and can gain control by maintaining a
healthy body weight and eating the right foods on a diabetic diet.

Other people may start at diet and exercise but as the disease progresses may
have to move from oral medication to injections over time. These changes will
be determined by your doctor based on physical check-ups and the results of
your daily blood sugar monitoring. If you would like to cut back on your
medication or the type of treatment you are on, speak to your doctor about your
goal and a plan can be put in place to better manage your diabetes.

Tests for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

In addition to the initial tests that will be taken when you are first
diagnosed with diabetes there will be more that are administered at different
times and intervals to make sure you are staying healthy. Some of these tests
you will do your self at home daily while others will be done during annual or
semi-annual trips check-ups at with your doctor.

The test you are going to perform most frequently is testing your blood sugar
level. This is done at home using a glucose monitor. Depending on how new the
disease is to you and how well controlled your blood sugars are you may be
testing once per day up to seven times per day. If you are testing first thing
in the morning only, it is a good idea to test seven times a day at least once
per week to monitor your blood sugar levels before and after each meal and
before going to bed.

Testing for ketones in your urine is another daily test that you will do at
home. This is done once per day in the morning after fasting through the night.
The presence of ketones in your urine can signify that you are not eating enough
food or that you body is not processing it properly. A second test should be
done in the evening if you find ketones in the morning. If they are still
present at the second test, a call into the doctor is warranted to prevent the
onset of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Your doctor will order a blood test called a Hemoglobin A1C at least once per
year. This test looks at the average blood sugars that have been in your system
for the previous three months. It will give a good overall picture on how well
you are managing your diabetes.

Complications in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

The long-term effects of improperly managed diabetes on your body and internal
organs can be very serious. The different complications range from eye to heart
problems and in severe cases can cause premature death.

Heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in diabetics. The best way to
prevent damage to your heart is to follow your diabetic meal plan and
participate in some form of physical activity every day. By quitting smoking
you can decrease the chances of developing any heart problems later on in life.
Eating a diet low in saturated fats will promote good heart health and a normal
blood pressure too.

If blood sugar levels are not controlled they can lead to serious eye and sight
problems including blindness. High glucose in your systems will make small veins
in your eyes start to bleed. A regular check-up with an ophthalmologist to check
for any signs of damage is recommended once per year. To prevent this, keep your
blood sugars under control.

Kidney failure is most common in diabetics who do not control their blood
sugars for extended periods of time. When the kidneys fail they are no longer
able to clean the blood. After kidney failure the only two options for
treatment are dialysis (you are hooked up to a machine that cleans your blood)
or a kidney transplant.

Diabetics should take extra care of their gums and teeth as they are more
susceptible to gingivitis and other gum disease. A semi-annual check up at the
dentist with a regular brushing and flossing routine will help to prevent this
disease and the potential loss of your teeth.

All of these complications can be avoided or lessened by the proper management
of your diabetes. By following the guidelines set for you by your doctor and
checking your blood sugars daily you can lead a long and healthy life with

Hypoglycemia and Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) will cause
long-term damage to your body. But hypoglycemia, low blood sugars, can cause
immediate harmful effects including a diabetic coma. It is important to be able
to recognize the signs when your blood sugar is too low and to carry emergency
supplies to rectify the situation.

People will react and show different symptoms when their blood glucose levels
are too low. They can include some or all of the following:

*  Feeling hungry
*  Feeling nervous or panicked
*  Feeling light-headed or dizzy
*  Weakness or lethargy (wanting to go to sleep)
*  You may be confused, having difficulty speaking or stringing thoughts

Once you have experienced hypoglycemia a few times you will begin to recognize
the signals your body will give you when you need more food in your body. It is
important to check you blood sugar with your monitor and have something right
away that will act immediately to raise your blood sugars. Hard candies or
glucose tablets work fast and are easy to have on you at all times. In case you
are not able to help yourself, carry something that identifies you as a diabetic
and instructions of what to do and who to call if you need assistance.

Once you have eaten something, test your blood sugar again in 15 minutes to
make sure that it is going back to a normal range. You will want to have a
snack or a meal too as the burst of sugar will not be long lasting.

By eating small and frequent meals every two to three hours you can lessen the
chances of having hyperglycemia. Another safety precaution that should be taken
includes eating prior to exercising and afterwards to keep up your energy level.

Hyperglycemia and Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Elevated blood sugars are not good for your body and prolonged exposure to high
blood sugars can have devastating affects on your organs (specifically your
heart, kidneys, and eyes). Recognizing the signs of high glucose levels and
testing regularly can help to keep you aware and in control of this important
part of being a diabetic.

The symptoms that indicate your blood sugar is too high are the same signs that
you might recognize from when you were first diagnosed with diabetes -- an
extreme thirst, frequent urination, and a feeling of lethargy. The good news is
that once you are aware of how your body reacts to high blood sugar you can act
more quickly because you know what is going on with your body.

If you are sick or are taking certain medications your blood glucose levels
could be higher than normal. It is important to advise your pharmacist that you
are diabetic when you are picking up your prescription. They can advise you of
the side effects you can expect and what you should do about them if anything.

If your blood sugar is high everyday at the same time it may be a signal that
your body needs more insulin. If you are comfortable adjusting your own dosage
do so in small increments. If you are not comfortable a call in to your doctor
or diabetes educator is in order and they can advise you on any adjustments
that you will need to make.

In addition, review what you have eaten recently. If you have tried a new food
or have been less active lately or you have eaten a food high in carbohydrates
that is probably the reason for the high blood sugar readings. Once you know
the reason for the high blood sugars you can do something to fix it and prevent
it from happening again.

Getting Pregnant when you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

There is no reason that you can not get pregnant and have a healthy baby
because you are diabetic. But there are precautions and preparations that
should be taken to provide a healthy pregnancy for both you and your unborn

Before you try to become pregnant, you should have a discussion with your
doctor to let him or her know your plans. They will review your medical history
and give you advice on the best way to proceed or if you should wait.

The reason you would be asked to wait is if your Hemoglobin A1C test results
were high. Even though a reading of less than seven is considered good diabetic
control it is better to have a lower number (around six) for the best chance at
a healthy start. The reason it is so important to have good blood glucose
control before you get pregnant is because of a reduction in the chance of your
baby being born with birth defects.

The first six weeks of pregnancy are when the baby's internal organs are just
starting to form. If they are exposed to high blood sugar levels during this
time it is highly likely the baby will be born with birth defects or other

But once you have the go ahead from the doctor to try and conceive you will
still need strict control over your diabetes. Your insulin requirements while
you are pregnant are going to increase as the placenta releases a hormone that
can block insulin production. If you follow the diet provided by your doctor
and remain healthy during your pregnancy your insulin requirements will most
likely return to normal once the baby is born.

Mothers who have diabetes will still have regular pregnancies and can breast
feed once their babies are born.

The Effects of Smoking with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Smoking on its own is associated with many different diseases and can be a risk
factor for multiple types of cancer. But in a person with diabetes or a
pre-diabetic there are specific risks that arise. There are some differences
between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and smoking hazards.

In type 1 diabetes, smoking is not a risk factor for being diagnoses because
people with this type of diabetes were born with the genetic make-up to get the
disease. But smoking can exacerbate the complications associated with poorly
controlled diabetes. An increased risk of heart disease and cardiovascular
problems is found in diabetic smokers. In type 1 diabetics who smoke the risk
for kidney disease or kidney failure is increased.

In pre-diabetics or people who may be at higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes
smoking is a contributing factor to a diagnosis. Smoking increases the
likelihood that their body will develop an insulin resistance and need insulin
injections or medication in the future.

There are not many studies that have been conducted on the benefits of quitting
smoking if you are a diabetic. But it does stand to reason that because smoking
and diabetes both increase the chances of heart disease that by quitting
smoking you will improve your health and the state of your diabetes.

If you are having trouble quitting on your own or want more information on the
benefits of stopping, make an appointment with your doctor. There are many aids
that are available as well as support your can utilize to help you in the
process. There are nicotine patches and gum or you can try medication or
hypnosis. It is a hard thing to do but you will reap many rewards both
financially and in terms of your overall health and life expectancy.


The onset of type 1 diabetes is rapid and once it is diagnosed there are no
grey areas you have diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, with close monitoring of
people who are at highrisk it is possible to diagnose a condition known as
pre-diabetes. What this means is the person's blood sugars are higher than they
should be but are not considered high enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes.

When a person is diagnosed with pre-diabetes there is no set period of time
that they have until they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. With careful
monitoring, a healthy eating plan and physical exercise the onset of diabetes
can be delayed for months, years, or even forever.

Once a doctor determines that a patient is pre-diabetic an annual blood test
will be ordered to ensure blood glucose levels are remaining at a healthy
level. The doctor will probably request that a monitor is purchased and blood
sugars are monitored on a semiregular basis at home too.

There are many risk factors that are associated with pre-diabetes. They include:

*  Being overweight or obese
*  No physical activity
*  Having had gestational diabetes
*  If you are over the age of 45
*  If members of your family have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

Having the above risk factors makes it more likely you will be diagnosed but it
does not mean it will happen. If you know that you are at risk, take your health
into your own hands and work to create a healthier lifestyle so you can prevent
pre-diabetes and the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you have question on how to
do this, speak with your doctor for suggestions. He or she will probably
recommend starting an easy exercise routine to get you active and help you lose

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