Understanding Diabetes: Type 1 vs. Type 2 & Their Symptoms

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Normally your body takes the food you eat, breaks it down into sugar (glucose), and releases it into your bloodstream. This increases your blood sugar, and in turn, your pancreas releases insulin, which in turn works with glucose to conduct a variety of processes in your body. With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.

Type 1:

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually starts when you’re a child, teen, or young adult but can happen at any age. Type 1 diabetes symptoms can develop in a few weeks or months and can be quite severe.

Many people experience extreme thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger, sudden weight loss, irritability, mood changes, fatigue, and blurred vision.

Type 2:

Type 2 diabetes is when your body struggles to regulate and use sugar as a fuel for energy, which results in too much sugar circulating into your bloodstream. Insulin plays an important part here as well. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes include losing weight, eating healthy, and being active.

People with type 2 diabetes may experience similar symptoms as type 1, as well as slow-healing sores, frequent infections, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck.

Gestational Diabetes

Another form of diabetes is gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is when diabetes is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is so important to be aware of during pregnancy because of how much it can affect you and your baby’s health.

Whether you are affected by type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if this is your first time learning about diabetes, it is important to understand how diabetes affects someone's body. At New York Health, we encourage everyone to have a diabetes screening once a year when they see their doctor for an annual physical. The screening consists of a complete examination and screens for complications of diabetes, like early peripheral neuropathy. It also checks a hemoglobin A1c level, which helps your provider understand what your blood sugar averages have been over the prior three months.

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