Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin. It can cause erratic blood sugar levels, but many forms of the disease are controllable. With medical intervention, many individuals can live healthy lives. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational.
Type 1 Diabetes
An individual diagnosed with type 1 diabetes has a pancreas that makes little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take insulin. It can be delivered via injections or insulin pumps. You also need to monitor your blood glucose level frequently throughout each day by using a glucometer.
Glucometers are small devices that measure glucose. Glucose is also commonly called blood sugar. The machines use test strips that change color based on how much glucose is in your blood sample.
There is currently no cure for type 1. To cope with it, people manage their symptoms with healthy eating habits and exercise. Monitoring this disease takes work, but many online resources are available, such as Tandem Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
It occurs when the body can no longer produce enough insulin or when the cells ignore the insulin. This malfunction causes glucose to build up in your blood instead of being used for energy.
If you have type 2, it means you have too much glucose in your blood. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
When you compare type 1 vs. type 2 diabetes, they may appear somewhat similar. The root cause is different. Type 1 diabetes is linked to autoimmune disorders. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only affects pregnant women. It can be dangerous for both the mother and baby.
When a woman gets it, her body does not produce enough insulin, or the body does not use it properly. These impairments cause the glucose levels in the mother’s blood to rise higher than normal, which can affect the baby.
Some symptoms of it include fatigue, increased hunger and thirst, weight loss despite an increase in appetite, and frequent urination. Some people may also experience blurry vision or tingling sensations in their hands or feet. This prickly feeling might mean you are not getting enough blood flow due to high glucose levels.
The tools available to help you manage your diabetes are insulin and glucose meters. Your doctor might prescribe medication. Most diabetics surround themselves with a team of medical experts, such as dietitians, pharmacists, and diabetic educators.
Treatment often involves lifestyle changes too. Some people can manage their condition through healthy eating habits, exercise routines, and stress management.
Living with it can be challenging. It is good to surround yourself with support groups if you are diagnosed with it. These communities can help you stay up on the latest research, and you can garner helpful lifestyle tips from others who are going through the same situation.