Diabetes is a medical condition where people are at a high risk of suffering health complications due to high blood sugar. But, how can you differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting how the body regulates glucose of blood sugar. Both diabetes types are related to insulin. Whenever you consume sugar or carbohydrates, you increase glucose levels in your bloodstream. The body then carries the glucose to various cells, where it’s used as fuel.
However, the body needs to regulate glucose levels in the cells, which is where insulin comes in as the key to the cell’s lock. Type 1 diabetes has insufficient keys, while type 2 diabetes has excess locks. In either case, your blood has too much blood sugar or glucose because it can’t get into the various cells.
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What is Type 1 Diabetes?
People with this diabetes have a problem producing insulin or lack the key. It’s sometimes called juvenile diabetes because the condition is usually diagnosed in adolescents and children.
Type 1 diabetes is not caused by excess weight or lifestyle. Therefore, diet or lifestyle changes can’t cure the disease but do play a role in its treatment. Fortunately, it’s a rare condition, with only 10% of diabetes diagnoses being type 1.
Type 1 is a severe autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks insulin-producing cells. Unfortunately, people with type 1 diabetes are also at increased risk of other autoimmune diseases.
An autoimmune disease might mistake the skin, joints, and organs as foreign invaders, attacking them in the process. However, you can help control the condition by focusing on strengthening your immune system to address the root cause of the symptoms.
However, genetics play a role in type 1 diabetes, and the condition is irreversible.
The symptoms are similar to type 2 diabetes but with some notable differences. They can be severe when they appear.
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
How to Test for Type 1 Diabetes?
The medical practitioner will conduct a simple blood test known as an A1C test to find out your recent average blood glucose levels. If the A1C level is at least 6.5% on two separate blood tests, then you have diabetes.
Alternatively, a fasting blood sugar test might be used. A score below 100mg/dl is considered normal. However, if it’s 126mg/dl or more on two different tests, you have diabetes.
What is Type 2 diabetes?
People with these conditions have a poor response to insulin, or their bodies make less insulin. Their key is broken. Therefore, the body can’t use or regulate glucose levels.
This condition develops over time due to diet and poor lifestyle choices. More than 90% of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes. The condition mostly develops in adults 45 years and above but can develop in children and adolescents too.
The pancreas continues to produce insulin but sometimes not enough, or your body responds poorly to insulin – a condition called insulin resistance.
Failing to control type 2 diabetes results in heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, PCOS, and nerve damage. Fortunately, the condition can be reversed.
Cause of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes comes about when your body builds up insulin resistance, sometimes due to genetics but mostly due to lifestyle choices.
Obesity is the leading cause. Other causes are alcoholism, smoking, insufficient sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle.
The insulin resistance makes the pancreas produce more insulin. With time, the pancreas is worn out and fails to meet the insulin demand, leading to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.
People with prediabetes or insulin resistance typically develop type 2 diabetes within the next 5-10 years.
- Always feeling hungry
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- Slow healing of wounds or cuts
- Always feeling thirsty
- Numbness in your feet or hands
- Recurring yeast infections
- Patches of dark skin in your groin, neck creases, or armpit areas.
How to test?
Do a glucose tolerance test – 140mg/dl is normal, 140-199mg/dl is prediabetes, while a glucose tolerance of 200mg/dl or more indicates diabetes.
Use an A1C test – levels above 6.5% indicate diabetes, levels below 5.75 are considered normal, while 5.7 – 6.5% indicates prediabetes.
Managing and Treating Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
Take control of your health to reverse the symptoms because there is no permanent diabetes treatment. Make better lifestyle and diet choices. Unfortunately, there is no cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The best you can do is put it under remission.
Medical practitioners administer insulin for type 1 diabetic patients because the condition is insulin-dependent. Also, they may use gene therapy and other regenerative medicine using stem cells and pancreatic islet transplants.
Gastric bypass in type 2 cases reduces symptoms in patients with severe obesity. Also, the physician may administer SGLT2, alpha-glucosidase, and DPP-4 inhibitors to lower blood sugar levels. Follow the diabetes treatment plan and your doctor’s advice to manage your condition effectively.
Exercise regularly to control your glucose levels and manage your weight. Regular workouts lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risks of heart diseases. Besides, it alleviates stress and depression.
Watch your Diet
Don’t consume more than 45% of your daily calories in the form of carbohydrates and eliminate alcohol, sugar, and gluten. Also, incorporate a healthy diet and avoid consuming sugary drinks and processed foods as they have more sugar and carbohydrate content.
Stress makes the body release the hormone cortisol, which mobilizes glucose reserves and consolidates survival memories to avoid danger. Excess cortisol suppresses your immune system, thereby increasing your blood sugar levels and blood pressure contributing to diabetes.
Adopt stress-relieving strategies to control your blood sugar levels. Activities like dancing, going for a run or walk, or listening to music can help.