Where Antelope Roam

Type 1 vs. Type 2

Okay… so I’m not a medical expert but I know there are many of my friends, relatives and acquaintances who are unfamiliar with the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes so I will do my best to explain what I think I know. ūüėČ

Type 1 Diabetes used to be called Juvenile Diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes.  It was called Juvenile Diabetes because most people with that diagnosis were children.

Type 2 Diabetes used to be called Adult Onset Diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes.  It was called adult onset because the majority of those diagnosed were adults.

These lines are beginning to blur as we start seeing children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well as young adults being diagnosed with type 1.

Both of these conditions demonstrate the body’s inability to manage the sugar content of the blood.¬†¬†¬† In the body, insulin acts as a key to¬†a¬†gate to allow sugar (carbohydrates of any kind) to pass into the cells to be utilized by the body.¬† However, if there is no insulin or insufficient insulin, the gate remains closed and the body has work to rid itself of excess sugar.¬† It is then that excessive drinking of water, excessive need to go to the bathroom and other symptoms of diabetes make themselves apparent.

Diabetes is managed much differently now than it was say 50 years ago.   Or even 30 years ago.    Now instead of prohibiting all sugar, it is managed by managing the total carbohydrate intake.

The major difference between these two types of diabetes (I don’t know of any other types), is what is going on in the body.¬†¬†

In type 2 diabetes, it is not that insulin is not being produced by the pancreas but that not enough is being¬†made to take care of the demand.¬†¬† With type 2, many adults can make lifestyle changes that will help them lower their blood sugar content to such a level that they will have no need to take medication.¬†¬† However, if they can’t make enough of¬†a change, then they will need to take medication, such as Metformin, Januvia or Janumet.¬† These are pills that help a person’s body¬†utilize the insulin¬† they do make to manage the insulin/sugar ratio.¬†¬† They are not insulin.

In type 1 diabetes, (this is the type Katie has), the islets (pronounced eyelets) of the pancreas have stopped producing insulin.   Unlike type 2 diabetes, in type 1 there is no insulin being made for the body to utilize.  Therefore a person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes must get insulin another way.  Hence, many take shots.  

Katie takes as many as four shots of insulin a day.  She takes three different types of insulin.  She takes Novolog, which is an insulin that peaks shortly after she takes it.   With her morning Novolog she also takes Novolin (or NPH) in the morning.  This is a longer-lasting insulin that she takes to help her get through lunch without having to take her shots at school.   At night or rather at supper, she takes Lantus which is again a longer-acting insulin which takes her through the night.   These are adjusted as needed.   She takes the Novolog before breakfast and supper.

They have made many inroads to managing insulin.¬†¬† At this point, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes.¬†¬† In the future, Katie may opt to use an insulin pump which would (in my opinion) give her much more freedom.¬† The pump releases a baseline of insulin all day and night and she would then only have to take a shot (or release what’s known as a bolus from the pump)¬†whenever she ate for the number of carbs she eats at each meal.¬†¬†¬†¬† This, however, does require that she be able to count carbs and she and I are not there yet though we are working toward that. ūüėČ


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