According to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that afflicts over 18 million people in the United States, close to two million of whom have its most severe form, type 1 diabetes (also known as childhood, juvenile or insulin-dependant diabetes).
What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2?
For people with Type 1 diabetes, their pancreas has stopped making insulin. Type 1 diabetics take multiple daily injections of insulin. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the stomach acid would destroy it.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is still able to manufacture insulin and treatment usually consists of oral medications, exercise, and a strict diet.
What is insulin?
According to “A First Book for Understanding Diabetes”, Insulin allows sugar to pass into our cells to be used for energy. It also turns off the body’s making of sugar. When not enough insulin is present, the sugar cannot pass into the body’s cells. The sugar is high in the blood and it passes out in the urine. Frequent passing of urine is the result.
What causes Type 1 diabetes?
Quoting straight from the American Diabetes Association because they say it so well:
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. Yet two factors are important in both. You inherit a predisposition to the disease then something in your environment triggers it.
Genes alone are not enough. One proof of this is identical twins. Identical twins have identical genes. Yet when one twin has type 1 diabetes, the other gets the disease at most only half the time. When one twin has type 2 diabetes, the other’s risk is at most 3 in 4.
In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people need to inherit risk factors from both parents. We think these factors must be more common in whites because whites have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes. Because most people who are at risk do not get diabetes, researchers want to find out what the environmental triggers are.
One trigger might be related to cold weather. Type 1 diabetes develops more often in winter than summer and is more common in places with cold climates. Another trigger might be viruses. Perhaps a virus that has only mild effects on most people triggers type 1 diabetes in others.
Early diet may also play a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfed and in those who first ate solid foods at later ages.
In many people, the development of type 1 diabetes seems to take many years. In experiments that followed relatives of people with type 1 diabetes, researchers found that most of those who later got diabetes had certain autoantibodies in their blood for years before.
(Antibodies are proteins that destroy bacteria or viruses. Autoantibodies are antibodies ‘gone bad,’ which attack the body’s own tissues.)
What are the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes?
- frequent urination
- constant thirst
- weight loss
- excessive hunger
I hope this information is helpful. Here are the links again for information about diabetes, both Type 1 and 2.
In regards to the book I mentioned ” A First Book for Understanding Diabetes”, it is a very easy to ready book. It has short chapters and very concise. Sometimes when I read medical journals or websites, the language is so formal and full of medical terms I don’t know that they lose me half way, this book is not that way. The language is non-threatening so much so that I am going to have my daughter read it and do a short book report on it.