You may have heard a lot about type 2 diabetes and its prevalence not just in the U.S., but around the world. More and more people are diagnosed with this disease every day.
But type 2 isn’t the only type of diabetes people should be concerned about. There is a type 1 version as well.
What is the difference between these two diseases? Do they have the same symptoms?
How Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Differ
It isn’t bad enough that we have to worry about type 2 diabetes – we actually have to worry about multiple types of diabetes. And both adults and children are at risk.
In order to protect your health and that of your entire family, it’s best to know the differences between these diseases.
Type 1 used to be referred to as juvenile onset diabetes. That means that it was something that children were born with or developed at a very young age.
Children with type 1 don’t produce insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that absorbs glucose. It then acts as a key, transferring the glucose into the cells – which it cannot do without insulin – to be used or stored as energy. When insulin isn’t produced by the body, in essence, the body is missing an important key.
When insulin isn’t present, glucose builds up in the body, leading to high blood sugar levels that damage a person’s health and can even lead to death.
And just because this type of diabetes is more common in children doesn’t necessarily mean that adults aren’t at risk.
Some people go through their entire life not knowing that they have type 1 diabetes. It isn’t until they have serious symptoms in adulthood that they receive a diagnosis. This type of diabetes is called type 1.5 or slow diabetes. It typically doesn’t manifest itself until after age 25.
Type 1.5 is often misdiagnosed for type 2, as that is more commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes.
Type 2 differs from type 1 in that insulin is produced. However, the cells of the body don’t recognize the insulin and don’t allow it to absorb the glucose and carry it into the cells.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms to Be Aware Of
According to WebMD, type 1 diabetes symptoms can manifest quickly, over the course of a few days or weeks.
At this point, there’s so much excess glucose that the body struggles to function. Up until that time, the body did fairly well and the person can be symptom free. Once the body reaches the glucose threshold, though, you’ll see intense and often scary symptoms.
If you or your child starts to exhibit any of these type 1 diabetes symptoms, get to a doctor as soon as possible.
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Feeling hungry all the time
- Intense fatigue
- Blurry vision
Is There Anything a Person with Type 1 Can Do to Reduce Their Symptoms?
Many people who have some knowledge of type 1 diabetes are aware that children need insulin. The same goes for people with LADA. Since the body isn’t producing insulin, they need some help to take care of the glucose in their system.
But is that all that can be done?
Actually, diabetes patients and their families can take steps to reduce the severity and frequency of their symptoms.
First, they need to follow their doctor’s guidelines by taking the amount of insulin they recommend and when they say to take it. They also need to see their doctor regularly so that they can constantly monitor and successfully manage the patient’s diabetes.
Second, patients need to monitor their own glucose levels. Doing so is a great source of information, telling them that they need to take immediate action to balance their blood sugar levels.
Next, patients need to keep a close eye on their diet.
While this is something we all should do, it’s imperative that diabetes patients do so.
Eating simple carbohydrates, like candy, cakes, muffins, ice cream, soda, popsicles, and the majority of pre-packaged, processed foods can raise blood glucose to dangerous levels. It can also make people gain weight, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Talk to your family doctor about dietary restrictions and how many simple and complex carbohydrates are allowed.
You Can Lead a Healthy Life, Even with Type 1 Diabetes
A lot of people are worried that once they receive a diabetes diagnosis that they’re basically on death’s door. This isn’t the case. Granted, both types of diabetes are very serious conditions, but they can be managed successfully.
With the proper care and maintenance, children and adults with type 1 can live a happy, healthy life. That will take some effort on your part. You’ll need to monitor your blood sugar and dietary needs, or those of your child with diabetes.
In the end, though, all of the effort you put forth will be worth it. After all, you really can’t put a price on your health.