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Management of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: Similarities and Differences

Diabetes, as a health disorder, which is explained by the lack of insulin hormone necessary for processing food sugars into energy, has two major subtypes called type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both of the subtypes of the disorder have some similarities and differences as well. Consequently, medicinal approach to the treatment of both types of diabetes also has some similar and different features. Below we will discuss what treatment options may be helpful for people with any type of diabetes, and what medications are designed to target a particular type of the disorder.

What is in common between type 1 and type 2 diabetes treatment?

Following a special diabetes diet is the first step toward the effective management of diabetes, irrespectively to what type it is. This diet is properly balanced to provide all the necessary nutrients, but at the same time deliver only the limited and strictly controlled amount of sugars. This helps to keep body’s blood sugar level in predictable limits, which is the first precondition to the effective management of diabetes.

Another key part of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes treatment plan is exercising. Physical activity is beneficial for any person, but it is of especial value for those, who suffer from diabetes. Exercising helps to lose weight, the excess of which only worsens the condition. Besides, regular physical activity helps to increase body’s sensitivity to insulin, which is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes, who often develop insulin resistance.

So, healthy eating, diabetic diet and exercising are those components of the treatment plan, which are recommended to people with any type of diabetes. However, there is one peculiarity here: while for people with type 2 diabetes following a healthy diet is the first measure against the disorder, people suffering from type 1 diabetes can only rely on the combination of exercising, diet and insulin therapy.

What is different between treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

As it was already mentioned above, people with type 1 diabetes should undergo insulin therapy. The point is that in case of this type of diabetes human body does not produce its own insulin at all – so, in order to transform sugars into energy one should receive insulin from outside. Since insulin hormone is destroyed by stomach acids, it cannot be taken in the form of oral pills, - thus, the only way to deliver insulin is injection. That is why insulin injection is the key part of type 1 diabetes treatment plan.

In case of type 2 diabetes the situation is different. Its treatment plan may include three stages depending on the severity of the condition and response of a patient to the treatment.

At the beginning of the treatment, one is usually recommended to change his eating habits in order to reduce the intake of sugar-containing foods, and exercise in order to lose weight and improve body’s tolerance of insulin, which is still produced in people with type 2 diabetes. In many cases these steps are enough to keep diabetes under control. However, if it is not, a range of oral pills are available to help a patient deal with insulin deficiency.

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Let us put oral medications at the second stage of type 2 diabetes treatment. Here belongs:

1) oral pills, which stimulate human pancreas and increase the output of insulin (DiaBeta, Glucotrol, Amaryl, Prandin, Starlix);

2) oral pills, which decrease the amount of glucose produced by the liver (Glucophage);

3) oral pills, which help to improve body’s sensitivity to available insulin (Actos, Avandia).

Finally, in case if all the previous treatments failed or were insufficient for controlling type 2 diabetes, insulin injections may also be prescribed.


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