Diabetes QA

Looking for answers to your diabetes questions? Is there a difference in how to manage type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes? Fauquier Health’s experts answer the most commonly asked diabetes questions.

Q: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes differences?

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks itself, by destroying insulin-producing cells released by the pancreas. Those with type 1 must take insulin daily, since their bodies do not produce insulin on their own. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood; hence, it was formerly called juvenile diabetes. About 5-10% of people with diabetes are diagnosed with type 1.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common, and occurs when the body does not produce or use insulin effectively, called insulin resistance. Approximately 90-95% of those with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Most with type 2 must take insulin or diabetes pills to control their blood sugar levels. The onset of type 2 and recognition of symptoms is usually a gradual process, and can develop at any age.

 Often, those with diabetes do not exhibit symptoms initially. Symptoms may also be unnoticeable if they are mild. One or more of the following may be a sign of diabetes:

  • increased thirst
  • numbness/tingling in the hands and feet
  • increased fatigue
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • frequent infections
  • slow-healing sores

In contrast, sometimes those who show symptoms of diabetes may overlook them, and do not become aware they have diabetes until they experience complications. It’s important to speak with a healthcare provider immediately if one is showing any signs of diabetes.

Q: What are the symptoms of diabetes? Is there a type 1 and type 2 diabetes difference?

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown. Type 1 diabetes is often attributed to genetics, but unknown factors can trigger the onset of the disease. In type 2 diabetes, there are several risk factors that increase one’s likelihood of getting the disease, such as obesity, inactivity, and genetics.  

Q: What causes diabetes?

A person is more likely get diabetes if they:

  • are 50 years of age or older
  • are overweight or obese
  • are Hispanic, African American, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or American Indian
  • have a family history of diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high levels of blood fats and low levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol)
  • have a history of gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes women get during pregnancy, which typically disappears after the child is born)
  • are physically inactive

Q: How do I know if I’m at risk for diabetes?

Doctors use a variety of tests to diagnose diabetes. These tests include the A1C test, the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

After administering these tests, your blood glucose levels are measured to determine whether you have a normal metabolism or whether you have prediabetes or diabetes.

Q: How do doctors diagnose diabetes?

Although not curable, diabetes can be treated. Lifelong treatment involving management of blood glucose levels is necessary for both types of diabetes. Treatment can include maintaining diet and exercise, regular blood glucose testing, insulin injections, diabetes pills or other medication.  In addition, addressing diabetes-related health problems is necessary.

Q: How is diabetes treated? Is there a difference in how to manage type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes?

Currently, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, however, can be prevented or delayed in those who are at risk for the disease, a condition called prediabetes. For those with prediabetes, healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of the condition becoming diabetes, such as maintaining a healthy weight by eating right and staying active. It’s also important to get regular health screenings and checkups.

Q: Can diabetes be prevented?

Additional Diabetes Resources:

Lifestyle Tips for Managing Diabetes

Understanding Insulin and Insulin Pump Therapy

Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring Right for Me?

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Fauquier Health’s diabetes treatment options, visit our Diabetes Services page or call us at (540) 316-2652.


 



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