Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Type One Vs. Type Two Diabetes

Type One Vs. Type Two Diabetes

My father-in-law and both of my twin sons have Type 1 Diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes.  My FIL was diagnosed at age 10; he’s almost 60 now.  My sons were diagnosed last year, 5 months apart, at the age of 7.

Type One Diabetes

An autoimmune disease is: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system. The immune system is a complex organization within the body that is designed normally to "seek and destroy" invaders of the body, including infectious agents. Patients with autoimmune diseases frequently have unusual antibodies circulating in their blood that target their own body tissues.  (  Autoimmune Diseases include such things as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Celiac Disease, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Type One Diabetes is an autoimmune disease.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and-at present-nothing you can do to get rid of it.  (

Most people who develop type 1 are otherwise healthy. Type 1 Diabetes is a genetically-linked, hereditary autoimmune disorder that results in the body mistaking the pancreas as foreign and responding by attacking and destroying the insulin-producing beta islet cells of the pancreas. Simply stated, autoimmune disorders are an "allergy to self.” (

There are three antibodies that can attack the pancreas cells and cause Type 1 Diabetes.  They are Glutamic Acid Decarboxylase (GAD), Islet Cell Antibodies (ICA) and Radioimmunoassay & insulin antibodies (RIA).  Most children or young adults who develop this disease have 1 or 2 of these antibodies.  My little tigers have all three conducting a triple assault on their pancreatic beta cells.  Currently, the only treatment available to maintain life is to replace their body’s insulin via injections.  Without it, they will die. With research and experiences, insulin and treatments are improving.  Work is being done on artificial pancreases, islet cell transfers, and pancreatic cell transplants, but there is still a long way to go in finding a cure.

Type 2 Diabetes

T2D is one of the two major types of diabetes, the type in which the beta cells of the pancreas produce insulin but the body is unable to use it effectively because the cells of the body are resistant to the action of insulin. Although this type of diabetes may not carry the same risk of death from ketoacidosis, it otherwise involves many of the same risks of complications as does type 1 diabetes (in which there is a lack of insulin).

The aim of treatment is to normalize the blood glucose in an attempt to prevent or minimize complications. People with type 2 diabetes may experience marked hyperglycemia, but most do not require insulin injections. In fact, 80% of all people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet, exercise, and, if need be, oral hypoglycemic agents (drugs taken by mouth to lower the blood sugar).

Type 2 diabetes requires good dietary control including the restriction of calories, lowered consumption of simple carbohydrates and fat with increased consumption of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Regular aerobic exercise is also an important method for treating both type 2 diabetes since it decreases insulin resistance and helps burn excessive glucose. Regular exercise also may help lower blood lipids and reduce some effects of stress, both important factors in treating diabetes and preventing complications.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin-resistant diabetes, non-insulin dependent diabetes, and adult-onset diabetes. (

Type 2 diabetes can have a hereditary link and it can also be closely linked to lifestyle.  A pancreas is only designed to care for a certain sized body, and when you tax its limits, it cannot keep up.  Here’s my little analogy.  You pancreas is the car’s engine, gasoline is the carbs and insulin. I equate this to overloading a trailer and trying to drag it behind your car.  Your car CAN go, but very inefficiently.  If you remove the load, then the car can again function normally.  If you drag that load too long and don’t maintain the car, it can and will be permanently damaged.  My boys engine died, so it doesn’t matter what we do, it won’t start again.

Treatments and alleged cures

There are a lot of books out there about diabetes cures and treatments.  Most of these refer to Type 2 Diabetes and will NOT help my sons.  Trust me, if it would, I would’ve tried it already….multiple times.  If cinnamon would help, I would’ve already made them eat spoonfuls of it.  If honey would help, I would’ve injected it into their veins already.  (Instead, they need lots of insulin to cover the carbs in honey!)  If an alkaline diet would help, I would’ve already given them an Alka-Seltzer enema.  (Not sure that would cover it, but it sounds good!)  And, if the leaves of some exotic plant would cure them, then they’d drink the tea daily.  Unfortunately for them, none of that will take away the attack on their tiny pancreases.  I wish it would.

I guess that ends my little science/medical lesson.  With that background information out of the way, we’ll carry on.  Please support or continue to support JDRF in finding better treatments and a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  Please support stem cell research.  Please be an organ donor.


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