One of our teammates, whilst going through COVID last year, also had a child diagnosed with Diabetes.  Whilst the condition has its own challenges, it’s actually your and my misunderstanding of what it is that they have found to be the biggest challenge.  

Did you know there are three different types – Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both occur when the body cannot properly store and use glucose, which is essential for energy.  Sugar, or glucose, collects in the blood and does not reach the cells that need it, which can lead to serious complications.

Type 1 diabetes usually appears first in children and adolescents, there is no way to prevent it and it is often hereditary. The immune system mistakenly attacks pancreatic cells, so that they can no longer produce insulin to regulate blood glucose levels.  We still do not know what causes this to happen, but childhood infections may play a role.  A person with this type of diabetes will need to use supplemental insulin from the time they receive the diagnosis and for the rest of their life.

Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include:

  • having a family history of diabetes
  • being born with certain genetic features that affect the way the body produces or uses insulin
  • some medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis
  • possibly, exposure to some infections or viruses, such as mumps or rubella cytomegalovirus

Type 2 diabetes is more likely to appear as people age, but many children are now starting to develop it. In this type, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body cannot use it effectively as its starts to resist the effects. In time, the body stops producing enough insulin, so it can no longer use glucose effectively.  Lifestyle factors appear to play a role in its development and it can happen when the person always or often has high blood glucose. When the body’s cells are overexposed to insulin, they become less responsive to it, or maybe no longer respond to it at all.  Around 90–95 percent of people with diabetes have this type.

Symptoms may take years to appear. People may use medications, diet, and exercise from the early stages to reduce the risk or slow the disease.

In the early stages, a person with type 2 diabetes does not need supplemental insulin. As the disease progresses, however, they may need it to manage their blood glucose levels in order to stay healthy.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • having a family member with type 2 diabetes
  • having obesity
  • smoking
  • following an unhealthful diet
  • a lack of exercise
  • the use of some medications, including some anti-seizure drugs and some medications for HIV

Both types of diabetes can lead to complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision loss, neurological conditions, and damage to blood vessels and organs.

Another type is gestational diabetes. This occurs in pregnancy and typically resolves after childbirth, but some people then develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

We hope this has helped you under the condition and a little more…

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