Diabetes mellitus, often simply known as diabetes, is a chronic illness that alters the mode in which the body processes blood sugar. For diabetes patients, their bodies are unable to utilize glucose from the food they consume. This leads to excessive accumulation of sugar in the blood, since none of it, or very little is getting into the cells and being used to produce energy. For comprehensive understanding, summarised diabetes diagrams should come in handy.

Even though the infographics above have majorly focused on type 2 diabetes diagrams, type 1 diabetes is the other type of diabetes that is equally common. A factor that cuts across both type 1 and types 2 diabetes, is the presence of excess glucose in the bloodstream. Putting aside this attribute that they have in common, these two types of diabetes have different causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment as well. 

Comparison Of the 2 Types of Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, the body produces no insulin while in type 2, the body fails to respond to insulin. In type 2, after a while of unresponsiveness to insulin, the body is likely to begin producing insufficient insulin. With the lack of insulin production, inadequate production, or the body’s failure in responding to insulin, the high levels of blood sugar leads to complications such as diabetes-related diseases.

What Causes Diabetes?

Type 1

Glucose in the blood is regulated by insulin, a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The cells in the pancreas that are responsible for the production of insulin are known as beta cells. When the immune system attacks and destroys these beta cells, it results in type 1 diabetes. Destruction of the beta cells often begins when an individual is quite young and for this reason, this type of diabetes is commonly diagnosed in young adults and children.

From the entire population of diabetic individuals, only less than 10% have type 1. Since the regulation of glucose in the bloodstream is essential for one to survive, insulin must be administered in the body, in one way or the other. The most common way to do this for type 1 diabetics is through the use of a pump or directly injecting the insulin into the body. This insulin is sort of a supplement, that these individuals must receive for the rest of their lives.

Type 2

This type of diabetes is caused by the body’s resistance to insulin. The cells in the body fail to respond to the insulin being produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. In turn, glucose is unable to penetrate into the body’s cells, leading to a sugar build-up in the blood. For the glucose to get into the cells, there is a demand for a higher quantity of insulin. Later on, the body ceases to produce sufficient insulin, and as such glucose is inefficiently used in energy production.

At least 90% of diabetic individuals have this type. Supplemental insulin may not be necessary especially during the initial stages of the illness. However, with time, the insulin may have to be administered, for effective control of blood sugar levels. It is believed that obesity and having a sedentary lifestyle are likely causes of this type of diabetes. Even so, genetic attributes may also make the body unresponsive to insulin.

Diabetes Symptoms

Here are the most common signs of diabetes, for both types:

  1. Urinating many times
  2. Repeatedly feeling thirsty and taking a lot of drinks
  3. Constantly being hungry
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Loss of weight
  6. Fatigue
  7. General body weakness
  8. Irritability
  9. Dry or pale skin
  10. Regular mood changes
  11. Insensibility and a tingling feeling in the feet and hands.
  12. Long durations taken for cuts to heal

For type 1 diabetics, it takes a shorter time to detect the symptoms, compared to those suffering from type 2. In some instances, people with type 2 diabetes do not show any signs, and the illness is only diagnosed due to resulting complications. The type 2 diabetics who develop symptoms, the signs may begin to show after a couple of years.  

As such, it is likely that by when the illness is detected, it may already be at advanced stages. It is therefore essential to regularly carry out screening for type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, since type 1 diabetics take a short period to develop the symptoms, a few weeks is adequate time to discover that one is unwell.

Diabetes Treatment

Type 1 diabetes has no cure. The only way to mitigate the effects of the body’s inability to produce insulin is through the administration of this hormone. The buttocks, arms, and stomach are some of the tender tissues through which insulin is usually injected. This has to be done multiple times every day. An alternative channel of insulin administration is through a pump that delivers a constant amount of insulin, through a tiny tube.

The treatment of type 2 diabetes entails the consumption of a healthy diet and regularly working out. In some cases, these two remedies are enough to completely cure type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is easily controlled through a change in lifestyle. However, at advanced stages, a medical practitioner may prescribe some drugs that will also aid in the treatment. For either of the two types, it is wise to get your blood sugar level frequently checked.

Diabetes Prevention

In the same way, it has no cure, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. Therefore, there is barely anything one can do to minimize the possibility of getting this type of illness. In the case of type 2 diabetes, its prevention is similar to its treatment. Eating healthy and consistently doing physical exercises goes a long way.

You can enroll in a gym and have an instructor guiding you on the best workout routines to burn calories. Through this, obesity will not be an issue since physical fitness will help you maintain a healthy weight. In addition to this, you can visit a nutritionist who can help you work on a meal-plan, to ensure that most of the food you take is healthy and balanced.

Diabetes is a draining illness, not only emotionally and physically, but also financially. Those diagnosed with either of the two types might be worried due to the treatment demands that come with this disease. As a caregiver or as the one ailing, this should not compromise your quality of life. For the journey to be more manageable, you can consider joining a community that offers emotional support.