While it may be common knowledge that diabetes is a serious health condition, there is often confusion about which type poses the greater risk. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to health complications and increase your risk of dying prematurely. However, they are caused by different factors and must be treated and managed differently.
Two major types of diabetes — one major health concern
A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.
A chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose).
Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes are separate conditions, they have the same long-term complications, such as problems with:
Visual impairment or blindness
- Heart and vascular system
Including blood clots, heart disease and stroke
Kidney damage or failure
Nerve damage that causes pain or numbness
A woman may also have gestational diabetes, which is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes typically resolves after pregnancy, but some women may continue to have symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and need continued treatment.
Preventing Type 2 diabetes
Since lack of exercise and eating foods with high sugar content contribute directly to Type 2 diabetes, there are ways to safeguard yourself and your loved ones:
Avoid foods high in sugar content:
- Eat healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats
- Exercise 30 minutes each day
- Lose weight and keep it off
- See your doctor for regular checkups
Most people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children or young adults and will need insulin injections throughout their lifetime to manage the disease.
For those with Type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise alone can have a significant impact in reducing the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. In more stubborn cases, oral blood glucose lowering drugs or treatment with insulin may also be needed to avoid dangerous side-effects of the disease.
Balance, HCR ManorCare's comprehensive health and wellness blog, supplies readers with healthy ideas throughout the year. The blog is designed to serve as a resource, not only for patients, residents and families, but for anyone who strives to live a healthy, "balanced" life. For more information and help making healthy choices, go to balance.hcr-manorcare.com. If you need help making a health care decision, visit our CareFinder and live chat.