The American Diabetes Association estimates that roughly 9% of the adults in the United States has one of the two forms of diabetes. If you have diabetes or are at risk for the disease, it is important to understand the differences between Type I and Type II, and how you can manage the disease.
What is Diabetes?
Generally speaking, diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body produces and uses a hormone called insulin. Insulin, in turn, controls the level of glucose, a type of sugar, in your bloodstream, and enables the sugar to enter the cells to be converted into energy.
Too much glucose in your blood is called hyperglycemia and can be a serious medical condition. In severe cases, it can lead to diabetic coma, but even persistent hyperglycemia can cause damage to your eyes, heart, kidneys, and nervous system. The symptoms of hyperglycemia include blurry vision, lack of concentrating, having to urinate frequently, headache, and fatigue.
The opposite of hyperglycemia is hypoglycemia or too little glucose. Hypoglycemic symptoms include unexplained anxiety, sweating (especially severe night sweats), shaking or tremor, palpitations, nausea, and pallor. A major problem with hypoglycemia is that it robs the brain of glucose which is vital for its proper functioning. Left untreated, hypoglycemia can cause many of the same problems as hyperglycemia and can be just as deadly.
The Difference Between Type I and Type II
Someone who is insulin dependent has Type I diabetes. These individuals cannot produce enough (or any) insulin in their pancreas and must get insulin from periodic injections or via a permanent pump like device. Type I is considered the more serious of the two types and is a result of a genetic or physical defect in the pancreas.
Non-insulin dependent diabetes, or Type II, is often called a lifestyle disease. This form of diabetes is often the result of poor exercise, bad nutrition, or aging. Often referred to as adult onset diabetes, Type II is now an increasing problem in children as childhood obesity is more common.
Whether you have Type I or Type II it is important to work with your physician to manage your disease. There are new medications coming to market that better help control and manage diabetes better than ever before. But not all medication is right for everyone, and only a doctor can make the right call for which drug to prescribe. There are many specialty clinics like JenCare Neighborhood Medical Centers that have physicians and staff that are thoroughly trained and dedicated to diabetic management for their patients.
Gradually working into a healthy lifestyle is a great way to manage diabetes. Eating good foods, especially plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholesome grains, and limiting alcohol, excessive red meats and highly processed foods can make a significant difference for many people. Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise can help prevent diabetes, or assist you in the management of your condition. Regular eye care and physical exams should be a high priority for diabetic patients.