I saw a tweet and it read as follows: “Excessive sugar consumption causes #diabetes”. Social Media is saturated with these types of statements, memes, jokes etc. around Diabetes. This statement cannot be further from the truth. It is due to these irresponsible statements that the world is so misinformed on what Diabetes is and how it is diagnosed.
As part of Diabetes Awareness Month I asked my diabuddy, Kirsten-also known as @everydayisdiabetesday / Facebook to help me explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and how Diabetes is diagnosed.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition which occurs when the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels.
What causes Type 1 diabetes?
T1D is not preventable or curable and the cause is unknown. Anyone can get Type 1 diabetes. Studies suggest that T1D results from a genetic predisposition, typically combined with an environmental trigger such as stress to the body.
How is Type 1 Diabetes managed?
Type 1 diabetics are insulin dependent for life. Taking multiple daily insulin injections can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Blood sugar levels must be continuously monitored either with finger pricks or a continuous glucose monitor to ensure that blood glucose levels remain in range, to reduce short and long term complications due to hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. To keep blood glucose levels in range insulin doses must be carefully calculated taking physical activity, stress levels, food intake, illness, and other factors into consideration.
Is there a cure?
There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
This is when your body cannot properly use insulin. Your body still produces insulin and in some cases produces extra because the body does not use it properly, but eventually your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand and then needs help. This is also referred to as insulin resistance.
What causes Type 2 Diabetes?
There is not a single cause for Type 2 Diabetes, but the following risk factors can contribute to a Type 2 Diagnosis.
- Lack of Physical Activity
- History of prediabetes or gestational diabetes
- Age – The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases as you age.
- Environmental Factors (such as lack of access to healthy food, inability to exercise, and lack of access to healthcare)
- Genetics is also a strong factor in developing Type 2 diabetes. If you have an immediate family member with Type 2, you’re more likely to develop the disease.
How is Type 2 Diabetes Managed?
Exercise, Healthy Diet and Medication such as Tablets and in some cases insulin or a combination of both. You still need to check your blood glucose regularly as well.
Is there a cure?
There is no cure for Type 2 Diabetes. Research has been done on remission to show it is possible. Studies such as the Direct Trail indicate that this depends on your progression of diabetes and substantial weight loss. It is strongly advisable to check with your health care professional if this is possible for you.
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We, as Diabetics, appreciate it when you want to know more about the disease and ask valid questions for example how do you feel when you have a low, how is it managed, when were you diagnosed, how were you diagnosed etc. These types of questions help you better understand our condition and it educates at the same time.
Making irresponsible statements like the above mentioned tweet does not help at all. It hurts a Diabetic every time something like this is said. It makes it so much harder to educate.
Do you have any questions for us? We would love to hear from you!
E & K xx
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