I didn’t specify Type 1 or Type 2, or even gestational, in the title – because my job is to not only advocate, but also explain that these THREE types are …. DIFFERENT. And, there’s a fourth type I will explain later. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old. I wrote (and continue to write) about it. (Find links below.)
Please know that there’s a BIG –difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. This is the biggest source of frustration among type 1 diabetics… the confusion the general public has about it and the uninformed assumptions about type 1 based on their knowledge of type 2. They are not the same. Gestational diabetes can occur during pregnancy, and usually resolves (goes away) after the birth of the child.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease whereby the person’s body sees its own beta cells (the cells that naturally produce insulin) as foreign invaders and attacks them until they’re all dead. Thus, a type 1 can no longer produce insulin on their own and must take insulin – either through injection or through an insulin pump – for the rest of their lives… to stay alive. There is currently NO CURE. A type 1 did nothing to cause this autoimmune reaction, and there is NOTHING that can be done to stop or prevent it.Type 1s CAN eat sugar – they can eat cake and ice cream and candy… they count carbohydrate totals in the foods they eat and dose (bolus) insulin based on individual calculations. Without diagnosis and treatment – specifically insulin injections – type 1 diabetics will die.
Type 2 diabetics have insulin producing cells, but their bodies cannot use the insulin efficiently, and so need medication and diet and exercise protocols to improve their health.Some believe that type 2 can be reversed under the right circumstances. Type 2s must carefully monitor their carbohydrate and sugar intake to control their blood sugars. Some type 2s do inject insulin because their diabetes requires it. It is a common misconception that type 2 diabetics caused their diabetes through food and life choices – which often mistakenly carries over to misconceptions of type 1 diabetes – however, in reality, type 2 diabetes is on the rise in the United States and it is not solely caused by lifestyle choices. Genetics plays a very big role. (And – this is entirely MY opinion – I think that our environment plays a HUGE role in the onset of all types of diabetes.)
LADA. This is the fourth type of diabetes, known as Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. LADA closely resembles type 1 diabetes, but it is often misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes (often due to providers’ misconception that type 1 is a childhood-onset disease). It is also believed to be a more slowly evolving type 1 than typical type 1 diabetes.
All people with diabetes run a higher risk of complications – such as retinopathy, neuropathy, and heart and kidney disease – which is why it is so important to live well and eat well. Still – there is no guarantee that living and eating well – and establishing good control over blood sugars – will prevent eye, kidney, nerve, or heart disease.
If you are time-limited, read those with the asterisk. The Stakeholders Meeting post is especially important for all of us D-parents.
How We Got Here: Part 2 (and Where We’ve Been) *
Type 1: Know the Signs!! *** (The number of children being diagnosed today with Type 1 is astounding. Several children have recently died from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. The symptoms often mimic those of other common illnesses, such as the flu. KNOW THE SYMPTOMS. A simple finger stick is all it takes to rule it out.)
My Afternoon at the JDRF Type One Nation Summit
I Want You To Know, But I Don’t – A Guest Post about Type 1 ( This was written by a D-mom with whom I connected in the online community. She wrote this so eloquently. I couldn’t say it better myself.)
The Stakeholders Meeting – Management of Diabetes in Schools ( I became involved in my state’s new guidelines, to be released this July, 2016. I learned a lot, and I think all states should be achieving these goals.)