The Different Types of Diabetes – An Explanation

The Different Types of Diabetes – An Explanation – Many people will think about diabetes as just one disease, but there are actually different types. The distinction between the different types of diabetes is important because this will determine the type of treatment that is offered. There are two main types of diabetes but things can get confusing because one type can have different names. So for instance, type 1 diabetes might also be referred to as insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM) or juvenile onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can also be called non insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM) or adult onset diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to moderate the amount of sugar in the blood stream. If our blood sugar level climbs too high then we can start to have many health problems and may even end up losing our eyesight and limbs. If our blood sugar level is persistently high then it could kill us. Low blood sugar is equally as dangerous because it can make us collapse and even fall into a coma.
The blood sugar level in the body is regulated by a hormone called insulin. This is produced by the pancreas and the level of insulin released will usually be determined in response to our blood sugar levels. If these levels climb too high the body will release some more insulin to get things back to normal. With diabetes this ability of the body to regulate the blood sugar level with insulin is compromised.
The Different Types of Diabetes
With type 1 diabetes the pancreas is not producing insulin to manage the blood sugar levels within the body. This disease is usually first apparent in the individual when they are young; this is why it may be referred to as juvenile onset diabetes. With type 1 diabetes the individual will be expected to use insulin injections for the rest of their life. This explains why it might also be referred to as insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM).
Type 2 diabetes tends to occur in adulthood and thus you have the name adult onset diabetes. With this condition the pancreas is still able to produce insulin but it isn’t enough to correctly regulate blood sugar within the body. In most instances people with this condition will not be required to have regular insulin injections; thus it is called non insulin dependent diabetes. Instead the individual will be expected to take regular medication and make changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Treatment of the Different Types of Diabetes
The aim of all diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar levels within safe limits. This can be hard in the beginning and the doctor may need to experiment in order to find the solution that works best. There are different types of insulin available to treat those with IDDM, and the regime will often involve a mix of short and fast acting insulin. With NIDDM it will be a question of getting the diet right and finding the most suitable medication.