Diabetes Basics

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas produces very little or no insulin. The cause of this condition is unclear; however, scientists believe it is caused by genetic and environmental factors, such as viruses. Only 5% of individuals that are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1, and this condition typically affects children and young adults, previously being referred to as juvenile diabetes.
Since the body is not capable of breaking down sugars and starches to turn into glucose, those who are affected by this disease must self-administer insulin with an insulin pump or pens/syringes multiple times a day. Affected individuals must also monitor their blood glucose levels frequently in order to avoid hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
People who have type 1 diabetes may also have nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in just a few weeks or months and can be severe. Type 1 diabetes usually starts when you’re a child, teen, or young adult but can happen at any age.

What is Prediabetes/Type 2 Diabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, typically due to poor dietary choices and a sedentary lifestyle. Having prediabetes causes a spike in insulin production as a way to process excess sugar; the pancreas does this as an attempt to keep blood glucose levels normal. Eventually, the pancreas will no longer be able to keep up with insulin production, also known as insulin resistance. Once this happens, the onset of type 2 diabetes will begin.
Over time, having type 2 diabetes puts you at an increased risk for health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage due to the buildup of glucose in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is typically irreversible, depending on how long you’ve had the condition, how severe it is, and your genetics. However, it can be managed with oral medication, insulin, proper nutrition, and exercise.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed (sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all). Type 2 diabetes usually starts when you’re an adult, though more and more children, teens, and young adults are developing it. Because symptoms are hard to spot, it’s important to know the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and visit your doctor if you have any of them.