There are two different types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and very young adults. Type 1 Diabetes differs from Type 2 in that a person with Type 1 Diabetes does not produce insulin at all.
Insulin is needed to take sugar from the blood into the cells. Type 1 diabetes used to be called Juvenile Diabetes as it was diagnosed in children at early ages. The symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are very similar. Frequent urination, frequent thirst, excessive hunger are three of the most common symptoms.
A person with Type 1 Diabetes must be on insulin for the rest of his or her life. This does not mean that they cannot lead a long, productive life. In fact, people who are diagnosed young in life become accustomed to the treatment and are generally more compliant than those who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes later in life and who tend to ignore many treatment options.
Years ago, a child who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes had to inject himself every day with insulin to remain alive. Today, however, insulin pumps are available that make daily injections a thing of the past. A person with Type 1 diabetes, as is the case with those with Type 2 diabetes, has to watch their diet and avoid certain foods high in sugar and starch.
In 1981, the Glycemic Index was developed at the University of Toronto that rated those foods diabetics should avoid on a scale system. Some foods were very high on the scale and took a longer time to process in the system, causing more strain on the kidneys and adverse affects on insulin.
Other foods were low on the scale and digested at a slower pace. For years, it was commonly assumed that sweets were the cause of diabetes at that these were the only foods to avoid. With the advent of the Glycemic Index as well as other medical studies, it became apparent that sweets were not the only foods to avoid. As a matter of fact, a baked potato, often seen as a nutritional substance, is actually more harmful than a candy bar.
Carbohydrates are the bane to diabetics. And this is the food group rated on the Glycemic Index. People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes must limit their intake of carbohydrates. Certain carbohydrates, those rated low on the Glycemic Index, can be taken in smaller quantities. Those on the high scale should be avoided at all cost.
People with Type 2 diabetes are generally diagnosed later in life. This condition often effects older people and those who are obese. The incidents of Type 2 diabetes has mirrored incidents of obesity in the United States and most in the medical community agree that there is a clear link to obesity and the development of this disease.
People with Type 2 diabetes do not process enough insulin to break down the glucose in their system and cause their kidneys to work overtime in getting rid of the waste. While some people with Type 2 diabetes are prescribed insulin, most are started on a regiment of medication.
Physicians generally hope that by taking medication as prescribed, exercising, eating the right foods and monitoring their blood glucose levels, they can avoid the use of insulin. In many cases, patients are very successful at maintaining good blood sugar levels by modifying their diet, exercising and losing weight. Others who are not successful usually end up taking insulin.
As with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there are complications. These complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and skin disorders can be avoided if patients comply with the instructions of their physician, learn about their disease and do all they can to manage it. Diabetes is far from a death sentence. With proper maintenance, those with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can live long and happy lives.