Knowing the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects over 10% of the US population in people of all ages. There are different types of diabetes, and any of them can cause more problems if untreated. Left unchecked, this disease can lead to complications such as heart disease, nerve and kidney damage, skin conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease. But to find out how to best treat diabetes, it’s vital that we know what kind of diabetes is present.

Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent and Family Care have years of experience and expertise in dealing with diabetes and its complications. 

What is diabetes?

The group of diseases known as diabetes mellitus affect the way your body processes the glucose in your blood. Glucose is a blood sugar and a type of carbohydrate, which is gained from foods and under the best conditions works to fuel your muscles and tissues. When there is too much sugar in the blood, it overworks the body’s ability to produce insulin. 

Insulin is a hormone created in the pancreas that our bodies use to break down glucose. A high enough blood sugar count above the body’s ability to process insulin properly leads to diabetes. The type of diabetes you may get will depend on how high your blood sugar levels are elevated above normal. Most forms of diabetes will have similar symptoms, including:

Most types of diabetes run the increased risk of heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, and many other issues. Obesity, inactivity, family history, high blood pressure, and age can all increase the risk of getting diabetes.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, occurs when your body has little to no ability to produce insulin. It is referred to as juvenile diabetes because although it can happen at any age, it frequently affects children from 4-7 or 10-14. The symptoms generally start quickly and more severely.

Normally, the pancreas deposits insulin in the bloodstream to let the blood sugar enter the cells and regulates how much blood sugar your blood is supposed to have. With type 1 diabetes you don’t have any insulin to regulate blood sugar, and a high enough elevation of it can cause fatal complications in the heart, liver, nerves, eyes, feet, and can complicate pregnancies for both mother and child. A person with type 1 diabetes will need regular insulin shots to live as well as constantly monitoring the sugar intake.

What is type 2 diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes, the body also has problems with creating insulin to process blood sugar, but can be caused by the body becoming resistant to insulin. It also develops over a longer period of time, so someone can have it for years and not know it. 

Like type 1 diabetes, when the bloodstream has too much blood sugar the cells in the pancreas that create insulin become impaired over time and stop producing enough insulin to regulate the high levels of glucose. Unlike type 1 this happens over a longer period of time, which is why you may not experience symptoms at first. Type 2 is also the most common form of diabetes, and the risk increases as you get older. Type 2 can be regulated with dietary changes and more physical activity, but can be helped with insulin injections, if necessary. But injections are not mandatory.

Both forms are manageable, but you need a medical team to find the best diagnosis and treatment. So make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent and Family Care to find the treatment that works for you.

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