The numbers of Americans living with diabetes is growing quickly. According to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
more than 29 million Americans suffer with the disease. The two most common forms of this disease are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They are distinctly different in their causes, onset and treatments, but both involve the inability of the body to produce insulin properly.
Healthy bodies produce insulin to regulate the amount of glucose that is absorbed into the blood stream. Diabetes is an inability of the body to properly regulate blood sugar levels with insulin. It can cause a variety of other health complications including blindness, stroke and kidney failure.
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Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as “juvenile diabetes.” This is a kind of autoimmune disease that the Diabetes Research Institute reports causes the body to attack the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. In this case, a sufferer cannot produce insulin to regulate glucose levels on their own and become dependent on insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in children and teens.
Mayo Clinic doctors report the causes of type 1 diabetes
are not well understood. It may be caused in part by a virus or other environmental trigger. Genetics can also play a role. People with type 1 diabetes can produce no insulin on their own and must be on a treatment program that includes insulin injections carefully regulated to ensure there is not too much or too little sugar in the blood.
People with type 2 diabetes can produce some insulin, but generally not enough. The American Diabetes Association reports
people with type 2 diabetes have developed insulin resistance. Their bodies are not able to use insulin to appropriately regulate glucose levels. It can be regulated with medications, but can also be greatly helped with diet and exercise. People with type 2 diabetes are not necessarily insulin dependent, but insulin may be used to help make up for the body’s inability to regulate.
Mayo Clinic doctors point to excess weight and a lack of exercise as possible causes for the development of type 2 diabetes.
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