What are the Differences Between Type I & Type II Diabetes?

Type I & Type II Diabetes

One of the most talked about diseases today is diabetes (diabetes mellitus). There seems to be an epidemic including people of all ages. What are we to do? How about just using a little common sense? Start with learning as much as you can about the disease before you panic. If so many have it then there should be a lot of research available to answer your questions.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is the inability or difficulty of the pancreas to produce and maintain insulin. Insulin is the hormone which determines the uses of the sugar in your system. Those sugars are determined by what you eat and how much you exercise. A balanced diet and frequent exercise as well as proper rest are essential not only in controlling diabetes but to obtain a healthy life.

Why are there two types of Diabetes and how are they treated?

Type I Diabetes

Type One Diabetes develops due to weakened production of insulin. The reasons why the pancreas stops working altogether are thought to be largely genetic but cause of the disease is sometimes connected to a virus or an accident. The use of artificial insulin is necessary to control the disease in Type I diabetes.

Artificial insulin became available in 1921 which made all forms of the disease treatable but there is no cure for either Type I or Type II. Type one often occurs in children under 12 years of age. That is why it is often referred to as 'Juvenile Diabetes'.

Without insulin diabetic ketoacidosis is likely to result in coma or death. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is often the first symptom of undiagnosed diabetes. It is caused by an excessively high amount of sugar within the blood and little or no natural insulin to counteract that sugar. Symptoms are vomiting, dehydration, confusion and difficulty breathing. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration and insulin to produce ketone bodies to counteract the excessive sugar. DKA can but rarely occurs in Type II Diabetes.

Insulin is generally administered through daily injections but recently the insulin pump has become available. The pump is a small device attached to the person with a tubing system to interface a slow acting insulin through a cannula beneath the skin for approximately 24 hour periods of time.

Type II Diabetes
Type I & Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance or reduced insulin sensitivity or secretion. Type II Diabetes tends to occur in adults and is believed to be predisposed to obesity and other symptoms in family history or lifestyle. Type II diabetes may be present for many years before it is diagnosed.

Diet and exercise are sometimes enough to correct Type II Diabetes. If not, oral antidiabetic drugs are used to restore insulin production and reduce the hypoglycemic problems; hypoglycemia being the medical term for lowering the level of blood glucose.

Both forms of diabetes can result in long term complications. Among these are renal failure due to diabetic nephropathy, coronary artery disease and vision problems due to diabetic retinopathy. So it is essential, once diagnosed, that the diabetic take steps to improve their eating habits, increase the amount of exercise they take and balance both against a good restful eight hours of sleep every night. Diet and exercise are as essential as injections or oral medication.

Another form of Diabetes is Gestational Diabetes. This generally occurs during pregnancy and is most likely to improve or disappear after delivery. Gestational diabetes requires careful medical supervision throughout pregnancy. It is rare that gestational diabetes damages the health of either mother or baby. However, without medical attention the baby my suffer from a high birth weight or congenital cardiac and central nervous system problems.

The term 'diabetes' is Greek, meaning 'to stride or walk' In 1675 Thomas Willis added the word 'mellitus' from Latin meaning 'honey' in reference to the sweet taste of urine. The sweet taste was identified by Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians and Persians centuries ago. In 1776 Matthew Dobson confirmed the sweet taste was caused by excess sugar in the urine.

At one time diabetes mellitus was a death sentence. Before the creation of artificial insulin in 1921 there was no way to cause the pancreas to begin secreting insulin once it stopped.

The distinction between Type I and Type II Diabetes was discovered by Sir Harold Percival Himsworth and published in 1936. In 1988 Dr. Gerald Reaven's identified the 'metabolic syndrome'. In 1980 the U.S. biotech company, Genentech, developed human insulin. And in 1990 the 'St. Vincent Declaration' became the result of international effort to improve diabetic care.

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