Are You My Type?

 I’m am writing this post for the benefit of the ignorant.  If you do not have diabetes or live closely with someone who is diabetic, then you probably are sorely uneducated in what diabetes is and how profoundly it infiltrates a life.

First and foremost, there are many types of diabetes and each of them are very similar and yet profoundly different.

Type I – (I am a Type I diabetic) Most type I’s are diagnosed before they reach adulthood which is why it is also known as “juvenile onset” diabetes.  All Type I’s have to inject insulin which is also why it is known as “insulin dependent” diabetes. Only about 5 to 10 percent of diabetics are type I.  This type is not caused by bad diet or being overweight; it is sometimes hereditary.The key difference that sets type I apart from other diabetes type’s is that the pancreas in type I’s produces no insulin.  The body’s own immune system attacks and kills it’s insulin producing cells.  Insulin is the hormone the body (in healthy persons) produces to regulate glucose in the blood and turn it into energy.  If there is too much or too little glucose in the blood it causes a lot of damage and illness. There is no cure for type I diabetes.  There is no way to reverse it or stop it or turn it into another type of diabetes.  Type I diabetes is treated (controlled) via insulin injections (usually several times a day) in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise routine.  Type I’s  must check their blood-glucose levels several times a day to make sure they are staying within an acceptable range.  Uncontrolled diabetes will lead to a whole host of health problems and death.  Even people who take exceptional care of their diabetes may end up with complications farther down the line. But the better care you take, the less likely you will have serious problems and the longer you will live.

Type II – This is the most common type of diabetes.  In type II the body does not produce an adequate amount of insulin (and may be resistant to insulin) to properly control glucose levels. Type II is NOT caused by eating too much sugar or being overweight. This poor lifestyle may contribute to the development of type II but is not directly the cause. Anyone can develop type II diabetes, healthy lifestyle or not. Depending on the severity and individual circumstances of type II, it can be controlled by diet, exercise, oral, and/or injectable medications.  Type II’s are encouraged to check their blood-glucose levels regularly to be sure their treatment regimen is working properly.  Uncontrolled type II can be just as damaging as type I, so good control is key to a happy, healthy, and long life.  There is no cure for diabetes, however Type II can be controlled well enough to not need medication.  This requires an extremely strict diet and exercise regimen and does not always result in the desired outcome (being able to come off medication).

Gestational diabetes – This type of diabetes only occurs in pregnant women.  An increase in hormones makes it more difficult for the body to use insulin properly.  Diet and exercise is usually the treatment of choice, but sometimes medication is needed.  Gestational diabetes usually goes away shortly after giving birth.  If you developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy then you may be at high risk for developing type II diabetes at some point.  Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, and a healthy weight, will lower your risk for type II.

Surgically induced, chemically induced, and LADA – These are three other types of diabetes.  Surgically induced occurs when any surgery is done on the pancreas.  This type can be temporary or permanent and should be watched closely like all other  types of diabetes.  Chemically induced diabetes can occur as a side effect of certain types of medications and can be temporary or permanent and needs to be watched closely.  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) also known as type 1.5, is sometimes misdiagnosed as type II.  It can develop at a slower rate than type I and usually is diagnosed in patients in their late 30’s or older.

All type’s of diabetes are serious and should be under the supervision of an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist.  If you have any combination of the following symptoms, you should be checked by a doctor ASAP:

Powerful thirst that can not be quenched
Having to pee often
Feeling hungry (cravings)  all the time
Losing weight even though you are not trying
Excessive fatigue
Depression (malaise)
Tingling or numbness in hands and/or feet
Blurry vision
Cuts/wounds that wont heal or heal very slowly

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

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