Comparing the causes and symptoms for type 1 and type 2 diabetes
In Singapore, 1 in 9 people aged 18 to 69 suffer from Diabetes, making up a total of 11.3% of our entire nation.
Today, it is the leading cause for blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke among adults.
According to an article published on Straits Times, Diabetes cost Singapore more than $1 billion in 2010, and is expected to soar beyond $2.5 billion by 2050.
(read more about facts on diabetes which you may not know here)
So what exactly is Diabetes?
Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic medical condition, where essentially, the sugar levels in your blood is too high. When we consume food, our body would break down food into simpler sugars- glucose. This is when our pancreas would secrete a hormone called insulin that allows glucose to enter our cells to be expended as energy.
However, a patient with diabetes does not make or use insulin well. Hence, this leaves glucose in the bloodstream, causing a higher than normal blood sugar level.
The onset of diabetes can lead to many complications like blindness, heart problems and damaged kidneys. Patients with diabetes have to take insulin and are also much more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, amputations, and other chronic illnesses.
There are 2 types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2:
Type 1 diabetes
Only 5% of diabetic patients have Type 1 diabetes. In this case, their body is incapable of producing insulin.
Type 1 diabetes causes
Their immune system destroys the body’s insulin producing cells. This is called an autoimmune response. Although diabetes can happen to anyone at any age, type 1 diabetes appear more commonly in children and young adults, and in patients with a family history of type 1 diabetes.
If you have a relative with Type 1 diabetes, remember to go for regular health screenings and blood tests. This is important as a person with a family history of Type 1 diabetes has a higher risk of getting it.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes
- Constantly thirsty/ dehydrated
- Extreme lethargy, fatigue and tiredness
- The need to urinate frequently
- Blurry vision
- Wounds that do not heal fast
- loss of weight without any reason
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the more common type of diabetes, where the body does not make enough insulin or use insulin well.
Causes of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by both genetic or environmental factors.
Genetic causes: Most patients with type 2 diabetes have a family history of type 2 diabetes and other medical problems such as obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes is also higher in certain race and ethnic groups such as Asian Americans, African descendants and Hispanics.
Environmental causes: A person’s diet and level of activity affects the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The more sugary foods you intake, and the less amount of exercise you engage in, will lead to increased risk of diabetes.
Pregnancy: A handful of women also develop diabetes during pregnancy called ‘gestational diabetes’. When a woman is pregnant, body becomes naturally resistant to insulin so that there is more available glucose to nourish the growing fetus. This isn’t a problem for many pregnant mums. Your body will react to its positive feedback mechanism, where if there is excess glucose, the pancreas will secrete more insulin to combat the increase.
However, when the pancreas cannot keep up with the increased demand for insulin during pregnancy, blood sugar levels will rise above normal levels. This leads to gestational diabetes.
Unlike the other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes will go away after the baby is born. However, it does increase the chances of developing diabetes in the future.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are not often obvious, which is why type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for years. However, the symptoms would usually be:
- the need to urinate very frequently
- thirst/ dehydration
- blurred vision
Summarised differences between type 1 and 2 diabetes
Caring for a diabetes patient can be tough. As there is no current cure for diabetes, diabetes patients are largely restricted to certain life activities. Diabetes patients will also be reliant on medication and insulin for their entire lifetime. Here is where home care will bring value to families who need help with diabetes. Jaga-Me provides nursing care and respite care with much experience for patients who wish to recover at home.
Singapore’s healthcare scene is working towards making healthcare more accessible for every Singaporean. Government initiatives like this is able to help families be prepared for a rainy day and cope with heavy medical expenses. Even the advent of home care services like Jaga-Me are connecting families at home with healthcare, making it easier and more accessible for families to get the care they need and to recover at home. If you are a family that requires home care services and nursing care, do check us out on our webpage here.
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