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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.
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:
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.
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.
A person is more likely get diabetes if they:
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.
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.
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.
If you’re interested in learning more about Fauquier Health’s diabetes treatment options, visit our Diabetes Services page or call us at (540) 316-2640.