Type 1 or Type 2? What is diabetes? Simply put, the condition is the inability to process blood sugar. The human pancreas produces insulin, a hormone essential for the proper regulation and use of blood sugar. If the body cannot produce enough insulin, or produces insulin that does not function effectively, then diabetes is the result.
The disease is generally classified into one of two main groups. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin at all. Insulin injections are usually necessary with type 1. This site discusses Type 2.
What is Type 2?
Type 2, also called adult onset diabetes, occurs when the body still produces insulin, but either produces insufficient amounts or the insulin that is produced does not function properly. Type 2 is by far the most common form of the condition, affecting 90% of those with the disease.
The adult onset variant of the disease usually does not require injections, as control is usually possible through careful diet and exercise, in some cases, supported with medications.
Obesity drugs are acknowledged parts of diabetes prevention in Canada, Australia, and Europe, but recognition is slower coming in the U.S. A recent four-year study, sponsored by Roche, found that the fat-blocking anti-obesity drug, Xenical, had a significant impact on the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 and Childhood Obesity
As the name implies, the adult onset variant, until recently, was usually diagnosed long past childhood, typically after the age of forty.
Yet today, the disease is being diagnosed more and more commonly in children. This coincides with an increase in childhood obesity.
Eleven percent of American children suffer from childhood obesity, with an even higher percentage considered overweight but not obese. Many of these youngsters run a serious risk of contracting the disease.
Other Risk Groups
Being overweight and not getting enough exercise are enough to put you in the high-risk group for adult onset diabetes, but other circumstances can also contribute. If you fall into any of the categories below, your chance of developing the condition is increased:
a family history of diabetes
Native American, Hispanic, African or Asian descent
Giving birth to a baby 9 lbs or larger
high cholesterol or blood pressure.