Diabetes is a serious illness that affects millions of people all over the world. In the United States, nearly one out of ten people have it, with a total 29 million people. Fortunately, it is a manageable disease, and with insulin and the right diet and exercise plan, someone with diabetes can live a fairly ordinary life.
But there are actually different types of diabetes. Many people that don’t have the illness themselves aren’t really clear on the distinctions, or how the disease works. Basically, diabetes is a disease that inhibits, or stops completely, the production of insulin, a substance that your body uses to break down glucose in the bloodstream so that it can enter the cells of the body and be converted into energy. Your body requires this energy to run all of your internal systems like keeping your heart pumping and your brain sending signals to the rest of the body.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the types of diabetes that are out there and how they are caused, as well as looking at some of the symptoms of diabetes in order to give you a better idea of how the disease works and be able to understand the progression and seriousness of the illness.
Causes of Type I Diabetes
There are two primary types of diabetes – Type I and Type II. These are often known as Juvenile Diabetes and Adult Diabetes because the former almost always presents before the patient has achieved adulthood, and the opposite is true of Type II diabetes. However, there are some other distinctions as well.
Type I diabetes is marked by a complete lack of insulin production in the body. This means that the body has no ability to break down the glucose and use it for energy. Without treatment, this can lead to ketoacidosis, a complication where the body begins to break down stored fat cells for energy and releases a poisonous amount of ketones.
The problem is, no one really knows what causes Type I diabetes. There has been a great deal of research into the illness, and there are treatments available, but still no one knows the cause. Most experts think that the answer lies in genetics, but identifying the exact gene involved as proved impossible.
What is known about Type I diabetes is that the immune system actually attacks the insulin cells that are located in the pancreas. Normally, the immune system fights off bacteria and other contaminants, but for some reason, it believes that the insulin cells are harmful and destroys them, therefore preventing the body from producing insulin.
In order to treat Type I diabetes, the patient has to inject insulin into their body every day. Even a single day of going without insulin could put them at serious risk of coma, seizure or death.