Dirk Gaines, MD
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Question: 1 What is the difference between type 1
and type 2 diabetes?

Answer. There are several types of diabetes, most common being
diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2. For simplicity, I will simply be
referring to them as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The short answer as
to the difference between these two diseases is that type 1 diabetes is
generally due to a genetic cause where as type 2 diabetes is generally
due to a poor diet very high in carbohydrates. I will go into more detail
in the 2nd paragraph on the differences between type 1 and type 2
diabetes. In the 3rd paragraph, I will discuss the potential complications
for not controlling your diabetes.

All the cells in your body require something called glucose, which is
molecule that is broken down from carbohydrates we get from food.
Carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables, wheat, grains, sugar, just
to name a few.  In order for our cells to absorb the glucose, our
pancreas has to secrete insulin. The glucose that we eat in our diet
stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin.  This is a normal process
our body does every day. In diabetes, basically your cells are unable
to absorb glucose. Your cells won't be able to get the energy it needs
and the excess sugar will accumulate in your blood, leading to many
problems. In type 1 diabetes, there is a genetic defect in someone's
DNA that causes the pancreas to suddenly stop secreting insulin. This
usually occurs in children but can occur in young adults. Type 2
diabetes is different. When people eat diets high in carbs, usually from
junk food, it causes an even greater stimulation to our pancreas to
secrete insulin. Overtime, the pancreas will "burn out" and no longer
be able to secrete insulin. Knowing the cause of diabetes is important
because it helps doctors understand the best way to treat the disease.

Question #2. What are the consequences for not
following doctors recommendations?

A. So now you have a better understanding on the difference between
type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But you may ask yourself, "What is the big
deal if I don't treat my diabetes?" That excess glucose (which is
essentially extra sugar) can lead to toxic effects on your body. It can
damage your nerves, kidneys, heart and even eyes. The nerve
damage can lead peripheral neuropathy, which can lead to
neuropathic pain and decreased sensation in your feet and hands.
This decrease sensation can be detrimental as a simple scratch in
your feet can lead to a devastating infection requiring amputation
simply because you couldn't feel it. Your kidneys can start to lose their
function, leading to dialysis and kidney transplant. Your heart will
become more prone to heart attacks. And you can lose sight in your
eyes, eventually becoming blind.

These are just a few of the effects of not keeping your blood glucose
under control. The good news that this can all be prevented. A change
in diet can make a big difference. Replace some of your processed
foods such as breads, rice, pasta, tortillas, chips, cereals, pastries,
cookies, with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. It is not
enough that the grains from these foods are "whole grain" or "organic."
Regardless of the source, the process of making these foods puts
extra work on your pancreas if taken in excess. Fruit and vegetable
juice is not a substitute either. Many of these juices take out fiber,
which is important in maintaining good blood sugar levels. Taking your
medications can be difficult but will help in the long run. See your
doctor for more information about the different medications available
for diabetes treatment or any other questions you may have.

Disclaimer:  The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for
professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice
of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may
have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical
advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this
website. Reliance of information on this blog is at your own risk. Do not hesitate
to call 911 in the event of a health/psychiatric emergency.
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