Type 1 diabetes most often appears in children ages 4-14, although it can occur at any age. With this type, the pancreas is damaged and can’t produce insulin. Without insulin, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases, typically develops in adults over 45. In this form, the pancreas produces insulin but not enough to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Patients with type 2 diabetes also have insulin resistance, so they can’t use the insulin that’s produced.
Patients with type 1 diabetes develop symptoms quickly. By comparison, symptoms build slowly over several years in those with type 2 diabetes. The symptoms for both types include:
The risk factors for type 1 diabetes — genetics and age — can’t be altered. You can, however, take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes, because its major risk factors are related to lifestyle. In fact, nine out of 10 cases of type 2 diabetes can be avoided by changing the top three risk factors:
Diabetes management requires taking steps to maintain normal blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar stays too high, it damages small blood vessels and nerves. This leads to serious complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, loss of vision, and peripheral nerve damage in your feet.
The Park South team includes an ophthalmologist, podiatrist, and physicians experienced with diabetes management. Every patient’s plan is customized but includes two key components:
You’ll learn about planning a healthy diet that restricts some types of carbohydrates. You’ll develop an action plan to boost your activity and lose weight if needed.
You must take insulin if you have type 1 diabetes. Patients with type 2 diabetes may not need medications if lifestyle changes keep their blood sugar under control. When diet and exercise don’t help, they may need insulin or one of several other medications to lower their blood sugar.
Diabetes management is a lifetime practice that’s easier with support from the Park South team — call or book an appointment online.