What is Type 1, Type 2 & Pre-Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is not a childhood disease, which is a common stereotype linked to type 1. It occurs at every age, in people of every race, and of every shape and size. There are more adults who have type 1 diabetes than children- it was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the carbohydrates you consume into blood glucose. Your body is constantly using this glucose for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in the world. Type 2 diabetes develops when our body cannot correctly use insulin. It is the most common form of diabetes, closely linked to obesity and inactivity, in which your body has developed a resistance to insulin causing your body to not use or produce insulin properly to keep blood glucose levels at a normal level. When your cells are unable to absorb the glucose they need, glucose is built up in your blood and can lead to increased levels of fatigue, or long term eye, nerve, kidney, and heart complications.
Pre-diabetes is a blood glucose level that reads higher than normal, but is not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Having pre-diabetes puts you at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Just because your blood glucose levels have tested into the pre-diabetes range, does not mean you will automatically develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, with management and healthy lifestyle changes, you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and reverse the onset of pre-diabetes and even return your blood glucose levels back to normal range.
Preventing or Treating Diabetes
Type 1 and gestational diabetes cannot be prevented. The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to make these healthy lifestyle changes:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat lots of whole grains
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per day at most
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol low
There is no cure for diabetes, so people with the disease may have to work hard to keep their blood sugar in check. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will recommend treatment options, which may include:
- Keeping track of your blood glucose levels with frequent testing.
- Changing your diet.
- Taking medications to help control diabetes. Insulin is usually given through a shot or pump
Talk to Your Doctor
Be sure your doctor knows if any of your family members have diabetes. And, talk to him or her about your risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
If you have symptoms of diabetes, it’s important to get tested right away so you can start managing the disease.
- Being very thirsty
- Urinating a lot
- Feeling very hungry
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Having sores that are slow to heal
- Having dry, itchy skin
- Losing feeling in or tingling in the hands or feet
- Having blurry vision
- Having more infections than usual
If your doctor suspects diabetes, you will have either a fasting blood glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test to check your blood sugars.