Diabetes is a disease that has been around for a long time, and unfortunately it does not seem to be going anywhere for the time being. Diabetes concerns the pancreas, and the body’s inability to make enough insulin, a hormone which regulates blood sugar.
As you may know, though, there are several different types of diabetes. Gestational diabetes, for instance, only occurs in some women during pregnancy. The other two types, though, can occur in anyone, but are partially dependent on age.
If you notice any symptoms of thirst, tiredness, or frequent urination, you should get your senior loved one checked for diabetes. But which type?
Here is a look at some of the differences between the two types of diabetes, so that you can know more about the illness, and which one might be affecting your loved one.
Type 1 diabetes was once referred to as “Juvenile-onset diabetes,” because it normally shows up in children. It is more rare than Type 2, but in a way it is more serious, because it is incurable, and it is not dependent on age, weight, or any other factor, other than maybe genetics. People with Type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin, and must rely on daily shots to do the job that a healthy pancreas would in someone who does not have diabetes.
With this type of diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that generate the insulin hormone, leaving the body unable to produce it on its own. Without insulin, the body cannot manage the glucose levels in the blood, which are needed to give the person energy.
Type 1 diabetes is usually first brought to one’s attention because of an instance of either very high blood sugar, or very low blood sugar, both of which can cause some serious problems, and can make the person feel very ill. This usually sends them to the hospital, where they are diagnosed, and can be given the medications that will help them to regulate the blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes is more common (and is seeing a big increase in today’s society), and if your aging loved one is just now beginning to suffer from diabetes, this is most likely the form that they have. Type 2 diabetes, like Type 1, revolves around a lack of insulin. However, in this case, the pancreas can still produce its own insulin, but not as quickly or as efficiently as the body needs it to. When the insulin is produced, the body can’t use it due to insulin resistance, which causes problems with blood sugar as well. Over time, this can lead to the pancreas producing less insulin to begin with.
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, whose cause (aside from possibly genetics) is unknown, Type 2 diabetes can be cured. It is normally found in people who are overweight, and healthy eating and a lifestyle change can lead to the disappearance of the diabetes all together. Normally, if a person can get back to a healthy weight (in a healthy way), the diabetes will go away, as well as many other health problems they may have.
In either case, diabetes is not a death sentence, and can be fairly easily managed if it is caught in time, and one is vigilant about treatment. Type 2 diabetes, though, is completely preventable, so make sure that you or your elder care provider are paying attention to your aging loved one’s lifestyle and diet, so as not to put them at risk for this disease.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Toms River, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
Prior to assuming his current position, Judah served as assistant administrator at Atlantic Coast Rehab (Lakewood, NJ) as well as Hunterdon Care Center (Flemington, NJ)