The most stupid question is the one never asked. I've always found it easier to raise my hand in the class, in case I had a doubt. I was never hesitant of asking questions. Only if I know something, is when I can teach it to someone else.
Lately, a lot of people have asked me questions related to diabetes and its types. It doesn't surprise me anymore when I come across people who have no idea about the types of diabetes.
People want to know If being a diabetic they can eat a dessert anymore or no? If they're being treated right according to their condition, and if they're taking good care of themselves. I've decided to put down a clarification for people who know diabetes as a disease, but not diabetes as a lifestyle. And believe me you, it can be pretty brain storming at times.
Being a type 1 diabetic, I can eat almost anything I want but in a certain quantity. Control is the key as being a diabetic, I'm supposed to act like my own pancreas. While providing food to the body, I've to provide it enough insulin to break down the sugar intake and it's not as easy as it sounds.
There's always a good chance you can miscalculate the carbs or miscalculate the insulin dosage which can rain on your parade and at times even when you do everything right, there is a number of other vectors which can go sideways, ending up shooting your sugar levels through the roof or lower it to a point, you go through a Hypo. And keeping in mind that they both are deadly, your job is to try your best to avoid any of those situations.
Let's start to understand what pancreas actually do in our bodies. The pancreas is an organ located in the abdomen. It converts the food we eat into fuel for the body's cells.
The pancreas have two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar. The endocrine component of the pancreas consists of islet cells that create and release hormones directly into the bloodstream. The two main pancreatic hormones are insulin, which acts to lower blood sugar, and glucagon, which acts to raise blood sugar.
As you'd guess, maintaining proper blood sugar levels is crucial to the functioning of key organs including the brain, liver, and kidneys. Now as we have learnt, the amount of sugar in the blood is usually controlled by a hormone called 'insulin', which is produced by the pancreas, a gland behind the stomach.
When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it is broken down to produce energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body cannot break down glucose into energy. This is because there is either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced does not work properly. Glucose builds up in the blood resulting in high blood glucose levels and spoiling your day.
Now that we know about diabetes let's take a look at the 3 types of diabetes-
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and require lifelong insulin replacement for survival.
The disease can occur at any age, although it mostly occurs in children and young adults.
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as 'juvenile onset diabetes' or 'insulin dependent diabetes'.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with hereditary factors and lifestyle risk factors including poor diet, insufficient physical activity and being overweight or obese.
People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes like diet and exercise; however, diabetes medications or insulin replacement may also be required to control blood sugar levels if it goes downhill.
Type 2 diabetes occurs mostly in people aged over 40 years old; however, the disease is also becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age groups.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears once the baby is born; however, a history of gestational diabetes increases a woman's risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
The condition may be managed through adopting healthy dietary and exercise habits, although diabetes medication, including insulin, may also be required to manage blood sugar levels.
As these 3 types of diabetes are different, the treatment options for them are different as well. Although the types seem similar, but they are very different to treat and manage. Being a type 1 diabetic, I have to enact the metabolic function of my own pancreas. It requires counting the carbohydrates I eat in every meal or snacks and then adjust my insulin dosage accordingly.
Since, every individual has a different level of metabolic activity, so every body react differently to variable cuisine habits, weight, age, and medical history. No two, type 1 diabetics will ever be alike in matter of their treatment.
Every day is a constant battle to get the numbers right or you end up sick or can even die in extreme cases. It's a test for your will to survival, to stay alive. I read it on twitter and really wanted to quote here-
"Diabetes is a terminal illness made chronic by taking Insulin for the rest of our lives."
If you ever meet a diabetic or anyone going through any form of chronic illness just know one thing for sure, they are doing a lot to stay alive, they go through battles you cannot even imagine about.
Always try to be kind while dealing with someone with a chronic illness. Just because you cannot see the suffering or the scars on our bodies, do not even think we share similar struggles as we choose to hide all the pain behind a smile. If you turn our bodies inside out it will be a different story.
Life is unfair to every one in some way or the other. I try to be a better human being by being kind to any one I come in contact with.
I hope you do too.