As we have seen there are two main types of diabetes plus a third, Gestational diabetes. The two main types of diabetes are designated type one and type two. While the mechanisms which cause them differ, they’re both characterized by high blood glucose levels and, if left untreated, have similar long-term consequences. Gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy resembles type two diabetes. However, it usually disappears after the baby is delivered.
Type one diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That means the body’s immune system turns inexplicitly against its own cells, destroying them as if they were foreign invaders.
Type one diabetes is sometimes refered to as juvenile diabetes because it usually develops in children and adolescents, most often around puberty. it’s the most common serious chronic disorder in children and adolescents. Type one can also develop in adulthood, although this is uncommon.
A combination of abnormalities is responsible for type two diabetes. The first is probably insulin resistance, a condition in which body cells become less responsive to insulin. Therefore, the body must secrete more insulin to maintain normal metabolism. Insulin resistance, which is very common, doesn’t cause type two diabetes by itself. The pancreas usually rallies to compensate for the resistance by pumping out more insulin. For most people with insulin resistance, blood sugar levels stay within a normal range. But for some, the insulin--producing cells eventually fail to keep up with the increased demand. Blood sugar levels rise, resulting in type two diabetes.
Essentially, type two diabetes is a problem of supply and demand. The pancreas supplies too little insulin to keep up with the increased demand that occurs with insulin resistance. For this reason, people with type two diabetes can be treated with therapies that decrease insulin demand , including diet, exercise, and drugs; with medications that increase insulin supply, such as sulfonylurea or meglitinides or with insulin itself.
The treatment regimens needed to achieve and maintain near--normal or “light blood” sugar control differ for type one and type two diabetes. Type one treatment centers on repacing insulin and type two treatment typically relies on exercise, weight loss, and one or more medications to overcome insulin resistance and compensate for the insulin shortfall. Insulin injections though, often become necessary. Most people with type two diabetes also have the added burden of managing one or more other conditions, such as obesity, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
There is no cure for type two diabetes, but there’s plenty you can do to manage--or prevent--the condition. Start by eating healthy foods, including physical activity in your daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren’t enough, you may need diabetes medications or insulin therepy to manage your blood sugar. Type two diabetes symptoms may seem harmless at first. In fact, you can have type two diabetes for years and not even know it. Look for:
Increased thirst and frequent urination.
Slow healing sores or frequent infections.
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 135,000 U.S. women each year, usually around weeks 24--28 of pregnancy. Hormones produced by the placenta that hinder the action of the mother’s insulin probably trigger it. Diet, insulin therapy, or glucose lowering medications are often needed to control blood sugar levels.
Everyday Health, Harvard Health Publications
Take control of diabetes, Real Age Health AssessmentsType two diabetes, Mayo Clinic
American Diabetes Association
What is diabetes?, BC Health Guide
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