Do You Know the Different Types of Diabetes?
There is no doubt diabetes is a huge national health issue. More than 25 million adults and children live with the disease in America and about 57 million more Americans at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Over time, if not controlled, Type 2 diabetes can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke and blindness.
Type 1 vs. Type 2
Type 1 diabetes is a disorder in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that aids in moving sugar from the blood to the cells. It was typically known as juvenile diabetes, but it is not only found in children. This type of diabetes can be due to a virus or an auto-immune disorder, in which the body does not recognize an organ as its own and attacks it. In this case the body attacks an organ known as the pancreas, where insulin is made. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed before age 40.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the insulin that the body produces is less efficient at moving sugar out of the bloodstream. Some sugar is moved out of the blood, just not as effectively compared to a person with normal insulin efficiency. High blood sugar is a result. Type 2 diabetes used to be thought of as the adult onset type of the disease. However, an alarming rate of children are now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
The quick way to remember the difference is that if your body is producing any insulin, it is usually Type 2 diabetes.
One of the main reasons I became a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator is to help people. My father was a physician and he was a Type 1 diabetic. He passed away when I was 13 years old due to complications from his diabetes. He was one of the smartest men I have ever met and helped others all the time, but he didn’t take action to control his own health.
If you are diabetic or if you are at risk for diabetes, please know that there is so much you can do to live a healthy lifestyle.
You may be at risk for Type 2 diabetes if you:
- Are overweight
- Exercise less than 3 times a week
- Are over 45 years old
- Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Are an African American, Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander
- Have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
You can do a lot to lower your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes by:
- Eating healthy
- Watching your weight
- Being active
- Controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol
Photo Credit: cogdogblog