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What's the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

By November 17, 2008 - 1:06pm
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What exactly is the difference between Types 1 and 2 diabetes? All I know (or think!) is that Type 1 is pretty much unavoidable and Type 2 is due to poor diet and excessive weight. Is this true?

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Susan provided a great overview of the differences, let me just add a couple of things to her posting. Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes as it develops during chilhood or adolescence. This type of diabetes is characterized for low or absence of insulin levels hence the need for injecting insulin and monitor blood sugar levels daily at an ealy age. This type of diabetes is thought to involve an autoimmune reaction, where the immune system attacks or damages its own pancreatic cells that produce insulin. There is a medical theory that type 1 diabetes could be the result of a viral infection in early years of life, environmental toxins or food allergies. CDC data indicates that perhaps 5 to 10 percent of U.S. cases account for this type of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes (also known as adult onset or non-insulind dependent diabetes) is by far the most common and we are seeing numbers of cases in epidemic proportions not just in this country but in many other countries. Just in the U.S. the numbers are cripping up among children. This type of diabetes is believed to be And although people with type 2 diabetes can still produce sufficient insulin, this insulin and the glucose it tranports cannot enter cells effectively. Type 2 diabetes is with no question linked to poor eating habits and diets high in refined carbohydrates and low fiber as well as lack of exercise, stress, hormonal imbalance and obesity. So, type 2 diabetes can be treated effectively with proper diet, exercise, and adding nutritional supplements such as chromium picolinate, zinc, vitamin D, fish oils, cinnammon, etc.

A third type of diabetes manifests during pregancy and it is called gestational diabetes which occurs among some women during pregancy. This will resolved once the pregnancy is over but women with this condition will have to watch their nutrition as gestational diabetes signals a tendency to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

There is a great book that can help prevent and reverse insulin resistance a pre-diabetes condition that if ignored can lead to diabetes and serious heart conditions. This is called Syndrome X, I read the book after developing gestational diabetes with my first child.

Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance (Paperback)
by Jack Challem, Burton Berkson and Melissa Diane Smith

November 17, 2008 - 10:01pm
HERWriter Guide

Thank you for this question!

Firstly, let's talk about what diabetes is itself.

It is a disease where the body does not A) produce enough insulin or B) does not properly use the insulin it has.

Insulin is created in the pancreas and is a hormone. It's function is to provide the body energy by way of glucose (which is why you often hear "blood sugar levels" being bandied about when it comes to diabetes).

Type 1 Diabetes is much less common than Type 2, accounting for less than one tenth of cases. Type 1 is when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin in the pancreas and the insulin needed has to be manually introduced into the body by way of injections or pills. There is not a whole lot one can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes although people who have a direct relative (parent/sibling) might want to talk to their doctors about getting checked. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that needs prompt attention. Failure to act can result in death. Doctors do not know exactly what causes it but it's thought that certain people may be born with a propensity to developing it and a weakened immune system can trigger it, making the body attack itself. A virus like the mumps can also trigger Type 1 diabetes. Currently, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes and it usually starts in seemingly healthy, non-overweight teens and young adults under the age of 30.

Type 2 diabetes obviously accounts for the majority of cases - up to 90%. This type is NOT an autoimmune disease, as compared to Type 1.
Type 2 is a metabolic disorder, meaning it is often associated with lifestyle. Persons with this condition sometimes have what is called "insulin resistance" where the body doesn't respond to any insulin in their body - regardless of how much they have.

Diet, exercise and excessive weight are the leading factors in why someone gets Type 2.

A decade ago, Type 2 Diabetes was often seen in older adults, after the age of 40. Now, however, with obesity rates soaring, it is seen in much younger adults and even very young children. Children as young as 6 or 7 are showing to be pre-diabetic due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

The good news is that someone with Type 2 is not insulin dependent and does not have to inject themselves with insulin - in fact, with careful diet, exercise and weight loss, they can find themselves free of diabetes.

I hope this explains the differences and for more information, the American Diabetes Association has a vast array of information and support.

They also provide a list of symptoms that show you may have diabetes:

Some diabetes symptoms include:

Frequent urination
Excessive thirst
Extreme hunger
Unusual weight loss
Increased fatigue
Blurry vision


The American Diabetes Association can be found here : http://www.diabetes.org

You can also take a test on their site, to see if you may be at risk for developing this condition.

November 17, 2008 - 1:39pm
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