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Exploring the differences between Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is where your car is no longer running on all 8 cylinders.

Typical medications of a diabetic. Psst – I also have Crohn’s disease so don’t get too scared.

Being diagnosed as a diabetic in my mid-thirties was life-changing. What does this mean to my lifestyle? What can I eat? What the heck is diabetes? In this blog post, I will explore what it mean to be diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic (T2D). You can look at your diabetes as how well your car runs. Read on to explore.

Your body gets energy by making glucose from the foods we eat.  However, to use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood.  No matter if you are prediabetes, a Type 1 diabetic or Type 2 diabetic, your body has difficulties managing the about of glucose your body produces.  When I started to look at diabetes and more importantly to understand the differences between prediabetes, a Type 1 diabetic (T1D) and a Type 2 diabetic (T2D) I quickly realized I had to look at my diagnosis it in its simplest form.  With that regard, I decided to look at my diabetes with the analogy that diabetes is much like how well my car runs.

Type 1 Diabetes

In simplest terms, T1D is similar to when your car’s engine will not turn over and has stopped working.  It does not matter how much sugar or in this case gasoline you put into that engine — it is not going to run.  No one knows exactly what caused the engine of your car to stop working — but there is hope, similar to Fred Flinstone — a little manual labour (feet power) or in our case through insulin injections, your car can still get from point a to be and live a normal life. What’s even scarier – much like a flooded engine, too much sugar in a T1D body can be life-threatening.

The Canadian Diabetes Association further simplifies Type 1 diabetes as simply, a disease in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. If you have type 1 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.  The cause of type 1 diabetes remains unknown. However, it is not preventable, and it is not caused by eating too much sugar. The body’s defence system may attack insulin-making cells by mistake, but we don’t know why. People are usually diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of 30, most often during childhood or their teens.

Type 2 Diabetes

Building upon our car analogy, Type 2 Diabetes is where your car is no longer running on all 8 cylinders.  Your car still runs, heck you can get from point A to point B without too much trouble.  With the exception of burning a little oil and some TLC, your car could keep on running for years to come.  However, eventually, some of the engines will get to the point that they no longer operate as well as they should. and a little assistance is needed.   In most cases, medication supplemented with a good diet and exercise will keep your car running even longer.  However, in the most severe situations even Type 2 diabetes may need the help of insulin injections.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.  If you have type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.

Prediabetes or Delayed Fasting Glucose

Similar to Type 2 Diabetes, prediabetes is where your car is just starting to run a little rough.  Your car still runs, heck you can get from point A to point B without too much trouble.  The exception of burning a little oil, and some TLC, your car could keep on running for years to come.  However, eventually, some of the engines will get to the point that they no longer operate as well as they should and a little assistance is needed – you have now progressed from Prediabetic to Type 2 Diabetes.

Disclaimer: This is simply my laypersons perspective on diabetes.  If you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to see your healthcare professional

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Mark is a foodie in training, photographer, Starbucks addict, runner, cyclist, and single parent living outside of Toronto, Ontario. Living with Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes, life for this Transportation Planner and RPP can be an interesting mix.

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