TYPE 1 DIABETES (T1D)
Firstly, we're not doctors or specialists so don't hold anything against us, although, we do know first hand how diabetes can impact on your life and the lives of the people around you.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that can strike both children and adults at any age. Our body is made up of millions of cells and these cells give us the energy to function... literally to move, grow and think. When we all eat our stomachs turn the food we intake into many sources and nutrients. One of these sources is glucose or sugar. Glucose is what our cells need for energy and comes from carbohydrates that we eat.
Type 1 Diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body's ability to produce insulin. The pancreas is a large glad behind the stomach.
The easiest way to explain this is to think of insulin as a key in your body - Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose (sugar), into energy. In a non-diabetics body their pancreas produces insulin instinctively so it’s an automatic key within them that ignites energy however in diabetics insulin is needed to be given.
What if a diabetic doesn’t take insulin?
Unless treated with daily injections of insulin or an insulin pump, people with Type 1 Diabetes accumulate dangerous chemical substances in their blood from the burning of fat to try and replicate this process mentioned above. This can cause a condition known as ketoacidosis and this condition is potentially life threatening if not treated. For optimum functioning and concentration, ones sugar levels should be between 5–8 mmol/L. For diabetics this can be very challenging and easier said than done.
For this reason, Type 1 Diabetes is a lifelong dependence on injected insulin and has the constant threat of devastating complications for the individual.
What are some potential complications?
Heart disease and stroke
This disease is one of the most common chronic illnesses in children and occurs more frequently than other chronic illnesses. In Australia alone over 122,000 people are affected. Every year 1,825 Australian are diagnosed and this is increasing per year.
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THE DIFFERENCE Between Type 1 and Type 2
Despite there being a lot of information available to us there is still limited knowledge and understanding of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We believe that there should be more awareness about the differences and we hope that the below table helps you in explaining the variances. Trust us when we say we totally get how frustrating it can be when people including the media make assumptions or don’t distinguish differences so here are the basics to help you educate those around you!
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Type 1 is an auto-immune disease where the beta cells in the pancreas are attacked by body's own cells and therefore can't produce insulin to take sugar out of the blood stream. Occurs my frequently in children and young adults.
Type 2 is a lifestyle disease. Diet related insulin release is so large and frequent that receptor cells have become less sensitive to the insulin. This insulin resistance results in less sugar being removed from the blood. Type 2 is genetic and can be caused by obesity or physical inactivity. Occurs more frequently in adults however recently there has a rise in type 2 diabetes in children.
Feeling tired or ill, frequent urination (especially at night), unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections and slow wound healing, asymptomatic.
Increased thirst & urination, constant hunger, rapid weight loss, blurred vision and extreme tiredness.
Makes too little or no insulin at all.
Can still produce insulin but does not use it properly (insulin resistance).
None at this stage.
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes but sometimes gastric surgery or lifestyle medication and treatment can result in remission.
Daily insulin injections or insulin pump.
Diet, exercise, weight loss and medication. Insulin injections may also be needed.
GESTATIONAL Yep, There's Another Type
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed in about 3% - 8% of pregnant women when a higher than normal blood glucose level appears. This is caused when the mother’s body is unable to cope with the increased level of hormones from the placenta, hence, interrupting the action of the insulin in the body. Although this could occur at any stage of the pregnancy, it usually presents itself at about the 6 month mark.
In most cases, mother's return to their normal health after their pregnancy although they do have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future, as do their children, later in life.
Risk factors include:
Aged over 35 years
Family history of diabetes
Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander background
Gestational diabetes occured during previous pregnancies
Management of gestational diabetes involves:
Eating a healthy balanced diet which includes low-fat and low-sugar
Physical activity such as walking or swimming
Frequent blood glucose level monitoring
Useful links below:
LET ME TELL YOU... It's Annoying!
You hear so many comments and are asked so many questions that we thought we would clear the air on a few.
Type 1 Diabetes is caused by obesity…
We would probably be rich by now if we got a dollar off every person who has said ‘but you’re not even fat’. This is one myth you don’t want to get us started on. While obesity has been identified as one of the triggers for type 2 diabetes, it has no relation to the cause of type 1 diabetes. Scientists do not yet know exactly what causes type 1 but they do believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Obesity or being fat is not a cause for type 1.
Taking insulin cures Type 1 Diabetes…
This is not the case, taking insulin keeps people alive it breaks down glucose, to give you energy - it is not a cure to the disease.
“You can’t eat that – it has too much sugar in it, right?”
Well, actually wrong!
Type 1 diabetes is not only diet controlled so being on a strict diet is not essential. Yes, there are restrictions but like anyone who doesn’t have diabetes everything should be eaten in moderation. A diabetic might need to eat at certain times or a certain amount due to their injections and dosages but they don’t need to cut out sugar completely.
Only children get Type 1 Diabetes.
This is incorrect; although 90% of cases are children anyone could be diagnosed. Type 1 diabetes does not discriminate on age.
All diabetes are the same.
This is definitely NOT the case, at all. See here
You can cure diabetes
Again, with the confusion between the different types, some people are led to believe that Type 1 diabetes is curable. Although we wish this were the case, unfortunately it isn't yet but hopefully it will be with all the research that is being conducted.