November is National Diabetes Month. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have affected people across the world, and it’s important that we understand each of these diseases.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation(JDFR) defines Type 1 diabetes, also known as T1D, as “an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. T1D develops when the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. The cause of this attack is still being researched, however, scientists believe the cause may have genetic and environmental components." Type 1 is often mistaken as Type 2, and there is no way to prevent Type 1, and there is currently no cure. Type 1 diabetes usually begins in childhood, but people can be diagnosed at any age. Although there is no cure right now, T1D can be managed with insulin by an injection or an insulin pump. A person diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes will have to manage it 24/7. This means that they must constantly balance their insulin intake with eating, exercise, and other activities.
JDFR reports that “1.25 million Americans are living with T1D, including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and more than 1 million adults (20 years old and older)." This number is expected to increase to 5 million people by 2050. Type 1 diabetes can be difficult to deal with, but people are still able to live a healthy, meaningful life with this disease. You most likely know someone in your own life with T1D, and many celebrities, such Nick Jonas and Sonia Sotomayor, also suffer fom the disease. Along with other organizations, JDFR is conducting research in order to decrease the impact of the disease until they are able to find a cure.
The other type of diabetes is Type 2, which is the more common form of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association defines Type 2 as “a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body's inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people." Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications, and insulin. Some risk factors include old age, excess weight, family history, and poor diet. Healthline reports that “29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. There are about 1.4 million new cases of diabetes that are diagnosed in the United States every year. However, there are ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Some of these prevention methods include a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and not smoking cigarettes. Similar to Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is also a very serious disease that will impact a person’s everyday life. Although there is currently no cure, people are still able to live great lives with the disease. It’s also likely that you know someone who has Type 2 diabetes, and some notable people with the disease include Larry King and Tracey Morgan.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes affect people every single day. It’s important that we understand how the disease can really change their lives. Hopefully, research will lead to better treatment and a cure for both diseases.