When someone is asked to describe their health relative to diabetes, usually they simply say they’re diabetic. Most people don’t mention whether they have type one or type two diabetes. With either condition, your body struggles with glucose storage and usage, so today, let’s take a look at the different types of diabetes.
First of all, glucose is used by your body to create energy. If you are diabetic, your ability to collect the free glucose in your bloodstream is impaired. This starves your body’s cells of the energy is needs to function properly.
The two main types of diabetes have many similarities, but they are different diseases. Let’s explore the differences.
Diabetes Type Two (T2D)
T2D is the most common type of diabetes, and affects 90 to 95% of the Americans who live with diabetes. It occurs most often in individuals over the age of 45, but teenagers, young adults, and children are being affected in more recent years, too.
Diabetes type two develops when your body can still produce insulin, but the hormone insulin that’s produced is much less useful. You actually become resistant to the very hormone that your body needs to regulate your blood glucose levels.
- Ethnicity plays a large role in the risk of developing T2D. According to the Harvard Medical School, Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics are more likely to develop T2D.
- Genetics is another risk factor. Inheriting certain genes makes you three times more likely to develop diabetes!
- Obesity is another risk factor for anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher.
- Smoking increases your risk of developing T2D by 30 to 40%.
- Lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet also increase your risk.
- Environmental factors certainly contribute risk.
- T2D might even be the consequence of having too little vitamin D.
- Finally, age can play a significant role.
Type One Diabetes (T1D)
T1D affects approximately five percent of Americans. Although it shares many similarities with T2D, it develops differently. T1D is an autoimmune disorder which means, in this case, your immune system attacks and destroys your pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin.
It’s unknown why your immune system attacks the pancreatic cells, but during the process, the pancreas stops making insulin. Supplemental insulin is needed from that time on. Symptoms of T1D appear much more quickly than do the symptoms of T2D and are significantly more profound.
Although adults can develop T1D, and men are more at risk than women, it’s most prevalent among children. Typically it develops during in puberty. The rate of increase of T1D globally is three percent annually among children.
The risk factors are highly debatable in T1D, but it comes down to a few potential culprits.
- Genetics play a role if a child has beta-cell auto-antibodies. This affects the way their bodies process glucose because the antibodies automatically destroy insulin or beta cells.
- According to Stanford Children’s Health, being Caucasian increases your risk of developing T1D, which is the opposite of T2D.
- Having cystic fibrosis, which causes scarring on the pancreas and stops the organ from producing insulin, also puts you at higher risk.
- Hemochromatosis, which causes an overload of iron that can damage the beta-pancreatic cells, is also a risk factor.
- Viral childhood infections such as rubella, measles and mumps can also cause T1D.
- Many other autoimmune disorders in which the immune system attacks organs like the pancreas can lead to T1D. Examples of these other disorders include celiac disease and thyroid autoimmune disease.
- Stress can lead to autoimmune dysfunction and the subsequent development of T1D.
T1D is a challenging condition that affects younger and older people, but with proper care, frequent monitoring, and simple lifestyle changes, it is possible to live an active and fulfilling life.
Common Symptoms of T2D
The symptoms of T2D can manifest in various ways, including:
- Increased urination
- Dehydration and thirst
- Increased appetite
- Blurry vision
- Unexplained fatigue
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Wounds that take longer to heal
- Unexpected weight loss
Hyperglycemia is defined as high blood glucose levels. Patients with hyperglycemia exhibit dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, a fruity smell on their breath, difficulty breathing, and in the extreme case, coma. Untreated hyperglycemia can certainly be life-threatening.
Hypoglycemia is a potentially life-threatening condition of having extremely low blood glucose levels. Symptoms include shakiness, a pale face, sweating, chills, anxiety, and a rapid heartbeat.
Other hypoglycemic symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, weakness, extreme fatigue, tingling, and severe headaches. If untreated, patients can develop seizures, loss of consciousness or coma.
Can T2D Change Into T1D?
The simple answer is no. Even though the two main types of diabetes share similarities, they aren’t caused by the same factors.
Whichever type of diabetes you live with, adopting a healthier lifestyle will support treatment. Even insulin-dependent individuals benefit from making better food choices and getting regular exercise.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of creating a better mindset for yourself, please check out my training on how to do just that at Embrace Optimism. Learn how to improve your mindset and create a happier and more positive life for yourself and those around you.
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