Diabetes is a group of chronic diseases that stem from blood glucose levels becoming too high. Glucose, sugar, comes from the food you eat being metabolized. Insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas, shuttles glucose from the blood and into your cells to use as energy. There are two major types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2. There is another type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, but we won’t be discussing that today.
Type 1 diabetes: No insulin production
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes (previously known as juvenile-onset diabetes), an autoimmune condition. For those with type 1 diabetes, antibodies from their own body begin to attack their pancreas. The pancreas eventually becomes so damaged that it can no longer produce insulin.
Another way type 1 diabetes develops is due to faulty beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for producing insulin. Type 1 diabetes is typically attributed to a genetic predisposition. Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections.
Nearly all cases of diabetes, about 95% of diagnosed adults, is type 2. It’s estimated that 26 million American adults have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and that number is growing. Historically, type 2 diabetes was almost exclusively seen in adults. However, as more and more children become overweight and obese, the number of children and teenagers developing type 2 diabetes has rapidly grown.
With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can produce insulin, however, it is either not enough or the body’s cells have developed insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the pancreas must work harder to produce more insulin in an attempt to reduce blood sugar levels. People who are obese, or 20% over their ideal body weight, are at a particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Increased fat contributes to insulin resistance.
There is no cure for diabetes. For those with type 2 diabetes, exercise, weight management, and proper nutrition can help manage type 2 diabetes. But this requires a commitment to series lifestyle changes. For many diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the disease does progress, unfortunately, and diabetes medication becomes necessary.
Whether you have type 1 diabetes, or type 2, properly managing the disease is important. Mismanaging can result in serious complications including:
- Diabetic Retinopathy – damage to tiny blood vessels in the eyes
- Neuropathy – nerve damage
- Nephropathy – kidney damage
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Increased risk of stroke
Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires discipline to keep in check. At Diabetes Texas, our goal is to help educate all our patients on how to best manage their diabetes while maintaining a high quality of life. Your happiness is just as important as your A1C number. If you have been diagnosed with any form of diabetes, or you are prediabetic, contact our office today. We can help you get on the right track to a healthy, happy life.