Diabetes causes, symptoms, and treatment methods |MediCare Pharmacy

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect the regulation of glucose (blood sugar) in the body. Having diabetes affects the way the body processes the food you consume.

When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, the body converts these substances into glucose. The majority of glucose is sent into the bloodstream and raises blood glucose levels, signalling the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin cells take glucose into the bloodstream so the body can use it as energy. The liver and muscles store excess glucose to use as fuel between meals.

Type 1: Many researchers believe that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the beta cells in the pancreas. When these cells are attacked, the pancreas cannot produce insulin. This condition is typically diagnosed in early childhood or adolescence. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or reversed.

Type 2: Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not respond to insulin and should. With type 2, the body cannot effectively use insulin to bring glucose into the cells. This causes the body to get energy from the tissues, muscles, and organs. Type 2 occurs slowly and is often a result of lifestyle choices.

General Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 and type 2 have the same warning signs. Early indications of diabetes may be easy to ignore at first, but you may want to talk to your doctor if you feel out of sorts.

  • Increased hunger and fatigue: When the cells resist the insulin your body creates, the glucose cannot enter the cells, so you have no energy. This leads to hunger and feeling tired.
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  • Urinating more often & increased thirst: Normally, the kidneys absorb excess glucose, but if your blood sugar is high, the kidneys may not be able to keep up. This leads the body to make more urine. Because you are urinating more often, you will also be thirstier.
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  • Blurred vision: Changing blood glucose levels can swell the lenses in your eyes, blurring your vision.
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  • Dry mouth and itchy skin: When your body is loses lots of fluid from increased urination, your skin and mouth may feel dehydrated.

Type 2 Symptoms

If you have been living with type 2 diabetes for a long time, unregulated blood sugar levels can cause more severe symptoms like:

  • Yeast infections: Men and women may experience yeast infections because yeast bacteria feed on the excess glucose in the body. Yeast infections can occur under the breasts, in or around the genitals, and between the fingers or toes.
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  • Slow-healing cuts: Increased blood sugar affects blood flow and makes it hard for wounds to heal.
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  • Pain or numbness: Type 2 can lead to nerve damage in the feet or legs.

Type 1 Symptoms

Long-term type 1 symptoms differ from type 2, and you may notice:

  • Unexpected weight loss: When the body cannot get energy from food, it burns muscle and fat for energy. This causes weight loss even if you do not change your diet.
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  • Nausea and vomiting: If your body burns fat in the body due to diabetes, ketones are produced. These substances can build up in the blood and lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, making you feel nauseous.

Diabetes Risk Factors

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes vary significantly in their risk factors. The most common risk factors for type 1 include:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Possessing certain genetic features

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes involve:

  • Diet
  • Being physically inactive
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Being over 40 years old
  • Being overweight or obese

Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes

The overall goal of type 1 diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as normal as possible. Insulin therapy is required to keep blood sugar under control. Type 1 patients need insulin throughout their entire life and may administer it through injections or an insulin pump.

Injections: If you choose injections, you will need several insulin shots a day to mimic the body’s normal use of insulin. Insulin injections involve a fine needle or syringe to inject insulin under the skin. Your doctor will prescribe you a specific insulin regime, but three or more insulin injections a day have been shown to improve blood sugar levels.

Insulin pump: This small device is connected to the body by a thin catheter under the skin of the abdomen. These pumps are programmed to dispense rapid-acting insulin automatically. You program the device with the number of carbohydrates you consume, and the pump dispenses insulin to correct blood sugar.

Type 2 Treatment Options

Treating type 2 diabetes may be more complicated for some patients. If you are overweight and have accompanying conditions like high blood pressure, you may require medications for these health issues along with diabetes drugs. Managing type 2 diabetes involves:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Blood sugar monitoring

Doctors will likely recommend healthy lifestyle choices before medications are prescribed. If these lifestyle choices do not improve your type 2 condition, you will likely have to take medications. These medications improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, so the body uses insulin more effectively. Other types of diabetes drugs stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin while others inhibit glucose returning to the bloodstream, excreting excess glucose in the urine.