In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon to hear that someone you know has diabetes. After all, a whopping 30 million people in America alone have been affected by diabetes at one point in their lives. If you don’t personally know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes, it may be that you have witnessed someone on television or in your favorite movie who is suffering from the condition. Because of this, you’re probably familiar with the name – but how much do you really know about diabetes? And do you know what the difference is between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes? Well, read on to find out…
What is diabetes?
To learn more about what diabetes is and how it affects people, you need to know where it comes from. Like many other words and medical conditions in the world, the word diabetes actually originates from Greek culture. In fact, it comes from the word “siphon” – which relates to a tube or a pipe. In this case, the pipe in question relates to the symptom of diabetes which means that they spend a lot of time in the restroom! According to the history books, the word was first used to describe the medical condition by Aretaeus the Cappadocian, a physician who lived in the 1st Century. When describing this condition, Aretaeus described it as the process whereby “great masses of flesh are liquefied into urine.” Nice. Today, we now know that diabetes occurs when a sufferer lacks the hormone insulin in their body – which is responsible for breaking down glucose in your body and converting it into insulin. But what is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes
Someone who has Type 1 diabetes has to suffer from the most severe form of diabetes, and have to constantly check on their glucose levels frequently throughout the day. They may even have to inject themselves with extra insulin to ensure that their body can cope with the extra glucose in their body. This is because those with Type 1 diabetes have to deal with the fact that their immune system isn’t such a fan of their body. In fact, the immune system constantly tries to attach the pancreas – the organ that produces insulin. This can have disastrous consequences if not treated accordingly.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is slightly different to Type 1 diabetes and is often called adult-onset diabetes because it’s more common that people develop this kind of diabetes throughout their life due to their eating habits and their genetics – rather than simply born with it, as often the case with Type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes also differs in terms of how it affects the body. While those with Type 1 do not produce enough insulin to break down glucose, those with Type 2 diabetes often produce enough insulin for the job. However, the body cannot deal with what the insulin needs to do, so cannot break down glucose. Because of this, stores of glucose build up in the bloodstream and causes the person to need ever-increasing amounts of insulin to gobble up the unused glucose.
Is there a cure?
Sadly, there is no cause for diabetes at the moment – but that doesn’t mean doctors aren’t working hard to find one. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for those with diabetes. Many people are able to correctly control their glucose levels using insulin injections and even artificial pancreases, and there are also other medications and treatments that are all currently being developed to help diabetes patients.
Diabetes is now a hugely common illness around the world, but few people know what the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are. Thankful, you’re not one of those people any longer!