Monday, March 29, 2010

What is the Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that is essential in the conversion of glucose into energy. Without insulin, our bodies would not be able to move the glucose from our bloodstream into the cells where it is converted to energy that is used for movement, growth, repair and other vital functions. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are two different types of insulin-production diseases. Type 1 diabetes is less common. With type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin whatsoever. This leads to a state of semi-starvation, no matter how much an individual eats. A person with type 1 diabetes cannot access the energy that should be extracted from their food and cells thus degenerate. In these instances, a person with type 1 diabetes should take regular shots of insulin to correct the deficiency. Medical research shows that type 1 diabetes is genetically based and appears at a higher frequency in Caucasians and those residing in cold-weather climates.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common, affecting more than 90% of the diabetic population. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin all the time. In many cases, the cells also respond sluggishly to the insulin that is provided. This leads to higher blood sugar levels. When the body cannot convert the sugar to energy, it stores it as fat, thus compounding the problem. In many instances, "insulin resistance" can escalate to extremely unhealthy and out-of-control levels. For this reason, if you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is important to proactively treat your illness with proper diet, exercise, and in some instances medication. Products such insulin testing strips, pumps and diabetic shoes can help manage the disease on a day-to-day basis. If not combated, type 2 diabetes can lead to excessive weight gain, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and diabetic foot diseases which can lead to amputation.

How do I prevent type 2 diabetes?

While type 1 diabetes is frequently genetic, the best defense against type 2 diabetes is a healthy diet and lifestyle. Individuals with a sedentary lifestyle are at particular risk. Other variables include aging, smoking, high alcohol consumption, a diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, and processed foods. Also certain mineral deficiencies may contribute to type 2 diabetes development. Talk to your doctor about your risk level and discuss different strategies for ensuring your long-term health.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of diabetic shoes, custom made orthotics, as well as support braces. Please visit for more information.

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