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Comparing Type I Diabetes vs. Type II Diabetes

Not all Diabetes are the same! Especially when looking into diabetes clinical trials, once must first understand the difference between the various types of diabetes.

Glucose is a vital form of sugar employed by the cells of the human body. The cells of the body obtain their needed glucose from the glucose made in the liver and muscles, as well as from the food that we eat. Insulin, a chemical made in the pancreas, is required for glucose to be absorbed by the cells. If an insufficient amount of insulin is produced, or if the insulin is not functioning properly, the glucose will not be taken as required by the cells, and as a result will build up in the blood stream. This build-up causes high blood sugar, which leads to pre-diabetes or Type I or Type II diabetes. The unfortunate chain of events can happen to people of all ages and with a variety of dietary habits.

Some people with diabetes do not experience any symptoms before their diagnoses. The test for diabetes involves a simple blood test to assess glucose levels, which will detect diabetes regardless of whether or not the patient is feeling symptoms. If a person experiences any of the following symptoms, he should consult his healthcare professional as it could be a sign of diabetes: severe thirst, frequent urination, severe hunger, exhaustion, unintentional weight loss, dry or itchy skin, slowly healing sores, tingling or numbness in the feet and/or blurred vision.

With regard to the source of Type I diabetes, this occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, and as a result the beta cells stop producing insulin. Type I diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) is usually diagnosed in children, teenagers and young adults.

Type II diabetes is a result of insulin resistance; a disorder in which the fat, muscle and liver cells do not properly use insulin. With Type II diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, the pancreas is forced to produce enough insulin to keep up with the increased insulin demand. However, over time the pancreas becomes incapable of secreting enough insulin after a person has eaten a meal and fills the blood stream with glucose. Lack of physical activity and obesity both increase a person’s risk of developing this type of diabetes.

Eating healthy and engaging in physical activity are ways to help prevent or treat diabetes. In addition, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check are advisable preventative and curative courses of treatment. A daily dose of aspirin and injecting insulin are common ways to treat diabetes for those already diagnosed with the disease.

Other forms of diabetes include Pre-diabetes and Gestational diabetes. Pre-diabetes results when the blood glucose levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to qualify for a diabetes diagnosis. Patients with pre-diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and developing Type II diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes in the late stages of pregnancy caused by hormonal changes and/or a shortage of insulin. After the baby is born, gestational diabetes usually goes away and blood glucose levels return to more normal levels. Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing Type II diabetes later in later years.

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