What is the difference between Diabetes type 1 and Diabetes type 2?
Children and young adults can get diagnosed with the disease that used to be called juvenile diabetes. Although it can happen at any age.
Diabetes type 1
Symptoms can include increased thirst, extreme hunger, urinating a lot, fatigue, and weight loss. A blood test will tell you if you have diabetes or not.
The condition has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. It’s a disease that happens when the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin is a hormone you need to be able to get energy from our food. Without insulin, your blood sugar levels become higher than normal, and that causes health problems. Over time, type 1 diabetes can cause other problems in your body. It can affect your heart, eyes, nerves, and kidneys. You should see your GP to get regular check-ups. To control your blood sugar, eat the same amount of carbs for each meal, from day to day.
Diabetes type 2
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes due to high blood sugar
Increased thirst, Increased hunger (especially after eating), Dry mouth, Frequent urination, Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry), Fatigue (weak, tired feeling) , Blurred vision, Headaches, Loss of consciousness this is rare though.
Type 2 diabetes is generally not diagnosed until health complications have presented themselves. Usually, there are no diabetes symptoms or very gradual development of the symptoms. One out of every four people with type 2 diabetes doesn’t know they have it.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
- Itching of the skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area)
- Frequent yeast infections
- Recent weight gain or unexplained weight loss
- Velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
- Decreased vision
If your child’s blood sugar stays high over time, it can damage the body and cause health problems. Blood glucose problems can become serious if they aren’t treated. Hypoglycaemia is a condition that can happen when glucose levels are low. It’s sometimes called insulin shock.
Monitoring of Diabetes
People with diabetes should test their blood sugar, or glucose levels regularly. There are two ways of testing a person’s blood sugar level: testing your blood sugar which involves pricking the finger with a lancet and putting a drop of blood on a test strip. The strip is then placed into a meter to display the blood sugar level. Children may need to test their blood sugars at different times of the day before and after a meal. This result will help determine the best options whether it be diet, tablets or insulin.
Glycosylated haemoglobin HbA1c test is an alternative blood test which is used to monitor the child’s average blood glucose over a time of 3-4 months. In general levels below 6% indicate good diabetic control.
Nutrition and Diabetes
The overall aims of diet and lifestyle advice in diabetes are:
- To improve blood sugar control
- To decrease in the risk of heart disease
- To help reduce blood pressure
- To lower lipid levels
- To help delay long term complications
- To educate on obesity through nutrition
- To increase exercise
It is recommended that patients with diabetes should follow a diet where 50% of the energy they consume comes from carbohydrate (starches and sugars) with only 10% of total being simple sugars (sucrose). 35% of total energy should come from fats, particularly from monounsaturated fats and 15% of total energy should come from protein. They should avoid processed foods where possible.
Exercise is an important way to manage diabetes as it helps promote beneficial weight loss and also lowers blood sugar levels and helps insulin work more efficiently. Children treated with insulin will need the advice of a professional to prevent their blood sugars from dropping too low when they exercise. Encouraging team sports and family fun is a great way to get more exercise, also parking further away or using the stairs instead of the lift.
Myth – You have to be overweight or obese to develop diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is not preventable and not associated with weight, physical inactivity or any other lifestyle factors.
Fact – if a child is overweight it is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes but it is not a direct cause. Some people who are overweight may not develop type 2 diabetes. People who are a healthy weight can develop type 2 diabetes.
Myth – Only people with type 1 diabetes need insulin
Fact – Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition. 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin after 6-10 years of being diagnosed with diabetes because the pancreas produces less insulin over time. Taking medication when required can result in fewer complications in the long-term and is part of managing type 2.
Using treatment plans helps kids to stay healthy, treating diabetes won’t cure it. There is no cure for diabetes so kids with type 1 diabetes will need treatment for the rest of their lives. With proper care, they should look and feel healthy and go on to live long, productive lives, just like other kids.
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