Friday, June 4, 2010

Type 1 VS Type 2

We all have dealt with the questions from people who have been inundated with information about Type 2 Diabetes but not Type 1. People who don't know the difference between the two. Include the questions YOU have heard in the comment section. I know I didn't cover them all here.

~Will she outgrow it? (Nope. Never. Ever.)

~Did you just feed her too much sugar? (Hell no! She was only 4! Diet doesn't play a part. I've seen BABIES dx. They were living on cheerios, formula, and pooping round the clock. Think about THAT.)

~So is this the "bad" kind? (Define "bad.")

~Oh so it's not that serious then? (Ummm, sure if the potential of losing limbs, going blind, heart disease, kidney disease and an early death aren't serious. Not to mention the things she deals w/ on a daily basis.)

~Was she overweight? (Underweight actually. W/ T1, her body was starving to death before dx.)

~So she can't ever eat sugar then? (In moderation and w/ insulin compensation, she can eat a normal balanced diet that ALL of us should be eating--which can include sweets in moderation.)

~So with exercise and better eating she will be cured? (Unfortunatly curing Type 1 Diabetes is not that simple. Read on and you will see why.)

Every T1 mom knows the frustrations that come with people just not understanding. Of course I can't be too hard on folks. I was them a mere 2 years and 3 months ago. I didn't understand. This is why I think we need to do our best to help educate people that T1 and T2 are 2 very different diseases. So, this is my analogy that I have shared many times over. I hope it works as well for you to create a "mental" idea for people to visualize the difference between type 1 and type 2.

~We are all born. As babies, I'm gonna jump out on a limb here and say, most of us are perfect in every way. See my little Sydney below at 1 month old. She was the model of perfection. Her pancreas was in perfect working order. Lets compare it to a car...

~This car is similar to a perfectly functioning pancreas. Generally speaking if you take care of this car by performing the needed maintenance checks, it will run beautifully for you. Syd's did for 4 years. But we will get there in a moment.


~As people age, we often don't take as good of care of ourselves as we should. We don't exercise regularly or eat properly. And our bodies struggle because of it. A person may go to the doctor to find out they are sick. They have Type 2 Diabetes. You know that healthy car from above? Well, it's not been maintained the way it should be. The doctor will visit with you about ways to get your body functioning properly again--get that pancreas back on the road and working the way it should...


~The Type 2 car needs a tune up. Maybe replace the spark plugs or change the oil. The body needs regular exercise. It probably needs to shed a few pounds. It needs to eat healthier so it's body has the proper nutrition it needs. IF that happens, there is a chance the car will work the way it did before. IF that happens, Type 2 can be reversed.

However, if you or your child has Type 1 Diabetes, your car doesn't need a tune up. Sydney's immune system--the system created to keep us healthy--turned on her. It destroyed the part of her pancreas that makes insulin. NOT because of diet, lack of exercise, being overweight, or any of those other Type 2 stereotypes you have heard about. We don't know why it happens. All we know is a tune up won't work because her car, or pancreas, can be compared to a car being lit on fire. Being destroyed. It no longer works. A tune up can't fix this problem. You answer this question for me, will replacing some spark plugs and changing the oil make THIS car run again?


No, it won't.


That is the difference between T1 and T2 Diabetes. The only way to cure T1 is to find a way to replace the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for making insulin. Until then, we have to do our best to work like a pancreas. Injecting insulin. Balancing activity with the insulin given. Counting carbs. Battling highs and lows. Trying to ward off the dangerous and deadly complications I listed at the beginning of this post. It's a tough job. It doesn't play by any set of rules. But we do our best because, if we don't, the result is...well we don't like to talk about the result. But it's always there in the back of our minds.

That is my analogy about the differences between the 2 types of diabetes. I, in no way, mean to offend any T2 diabetics who read my blog. I recognize lifestyle changes are difficult. But, this is an accurate depiction of the differences. I hope it has helped some of you to understand Type 1 a bit more.
Thanks for reading!

18 comments:

The Lane Family said...

I thought you did an EXCELLENT job of explaining the differences between T1 and T2 and since I have T2 I took no offense.

It does make me sad that you can correct T2 with diet, exercise etc. But that kids get T1 and it is a burden on their backs for life...let us continue to pray for a cure!!

wendys said...

Great explanations. You have got to be a pro at explaining the difference by now!

Mike LeBlanc said...

Excellent analogy Shamae ! Awareness is sooo important. Keep spreading the word.

Jenni said...

amazing, amazing post! You put it so well...and so plainly. I love it! Hopefully people will recognize the difference in the 2. While working at a diabetic clinic we saw both....and while both were no fun, the type 1's were the hardest to watch. Those little babies coming in for their pumps....some only 2 years old. heartbreaker! Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that this post is AWESOME and great job!!!

Misty said...

Great analogy Shamae! I too had very little understanding of diabetes prior to February 10, 2009! And all that I did know, turns out, was about Type 2 diabetes. So, while I feel frustrated when I repeat myself 100times that yes, Ally can eat sugar (in moderation, of course!), or when people say things like, at least its managed really well...I too understand and think we need to continue to educate. Great job doing your part! (ps, I'm gonna share this post with my friends, if that's ok with you)

Meri said...

Looking forward to the day that the part will be invented to make our babies engines run good as new. :) Great analogy!!

Heidi / Jack's Pack said...

Love the analogy!

Wendy said...

The picture of that car exploding...AHHHHH!!!!!! PERFECT, my friend. I couldn't have found a better way to describe T1 :)

Great post!

Reyna said...

GREAT POST!!! Love the analogy.

Penny said...

Great analogy and great pics. Make this one a sidebar view that people can click on next time they have questions from you. Tell them simply to go to your blog and click on Type 1 VS. Type 2. Great job!

Josie and Wayne said...

Good analogy. I've learned a lot from your blog. I do have a question though, so forgive me if it's an ignorant question. I just thought of it while reading this post. If curing T1 is as simple as a new pancreas (and I don't know if "simple" is quite the right word) couldn't they just cure it by doing a pancreas transplant or something? It seems like I saw an interesting episode on the history channel once about cloning and how they have some really advanced technology for replacing body parts. They have already used it for replacing urethra's and other such body parts. Do you know how close they are to finding some kind of cure for T1? Sorry it's long, I'm just curious if anyone is anywhere near curing this.

beckymatthews said...

While you may have knowledge of type 1, you obviously are far removed from type 2. I eat a balanced diet, I work-daily, yes I could lose a few pounds, but I'd put my cholesterol numbers up to anyone's and by all principles I lead a healty life. I however, have type 2 diabetes. I produce insulin, but my body is unable efficiently use it. My endo describes it as being "mutated". Because I lead the healty lifstyle I do, I am able to control my blood sugar through oral meds and byetta. Eventually, my pancreas will quit using the "mutated" insulin too and I'll be on insulin. My main concern is that you are sterotyping type 2 diabetics. This would be like saying all type 1 diabetics will be unable to actively play sports, or will die by the time they are 25--not true, and not fair. Either way diabetes is a disease--how each person aquires it differs, whether it's by genetic mishap or something they've done to themselves. All the questions you get with type 1, we get with type 2 as well and most of the answers are the same.

Shamae said...

Becky, I commend you for living a healthy lifestyle. I am aware that there are some other reasons why people may develop T2 diabetes HOWEVER they are NOT the same disease as you stated in your last sentence. The answers are most definitely NOT the same...not even close! They are different diseases. So, while it's great you are controlling yours and living a healthy lifestyle, you are in the minority with T2 diabetics. If you don't believe ME, talk to YOUR endo. Most T2 diabetics are not in the same situation as you are. T2 and T1 are not the same. They can't be compared.

Shamae said...

Becky, I just wanted to add one more thing, you have been able to manage your T2 w/ a pill and diet and exercise...which is great, well done. But our kids never had that option. Why? Because they aren't the same. The answer to those questions are not the same. Really, talk to your endo about it. You are in the minority...but keep up the good work. And I'm not far removed from T2...I've done LOTS of research because I was tired of people not understanding the T1/T2 difference. Like I said, there are extenuating circumstances for some T2 diabetics, but, on a whole, my analogy is correct.

beckymatthews said...

I think you need to re-read my post. I didn't say they are the same disease. I said the answers to the crazy off the wall questions we get are the same. Can I eat sugar? Yes, in moderation and if I take action to counteract it. Is this the bad one? How could either type be considered the "good" one. Will exercise and better eating cure me? Nope, but it sure makes it easier to deal with--the same as it does for a T1. From your post, I got that the ignorance or misinformation of some people concerning diabetes (any kind) is hard to deal with and leads to uneducated assumptions on their part. I think you are taking what you've been told about T2 and making assumptions as well. I'm simply saying, lets quit using stereotypes for anyone with diabets of any kind. It's a disease, it's one we are living with (T1 or T2), learning DAILY how to deal with, and would all love to find a cure for--because poking my finger at least 6 times a day and jabbing my belly with a needle at least 2 times a day are far from the top of my "fun things to do" list. And per my endo, the gap between T1 and T2 is rapidly shrinking as more and more is learned about each type. The ill received type 1.5 is becoming more common as more research becomes available and we all learn new ways to "battle the beast" each time we are seen by our endo. Do I think they'll find a cure? Probably not in my lifetime, but your Sydney has a great chance of seeing that. 30 years ago her life would be totally different than it is today. Great strides are being made in new treatments and cures. Our part of that as part of the Diabetes community (online or not) is to not promote the stereotypes and show the world that despite what "type" we are, we are not going to lay down and let diabetes rule our lives--we are going to do everything in our power to control it in order to prevent it from reigning over us.

Meri said...

Hi Becky! You have made some amazing points. Type 2 is stereotyped, just as Type 1 is. My mother and father in law both have type 2. My mother was a nice 115 lbs when diagnosed with T2, and walked daily. She had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with most of her children, which I think led to her diagnosis later in life. My father in law was on the other spectrum. He smoked, he overate...his lifestyle led him to his diagnosis. He is now thin and walks miles a day, eats in moderation and is a WONDERFUL example how Type 2's can turn their life around. He checks his sugar once a week. My mother checks 1-2 times a day. Both use pills and exercise to control thier diabetes.

Yes, I agree that when Shamae said that the reason T2's get diabetes is because theor bodies were not maintained may have been a bit stereotyped. I understand that some, no matter how well they take care of themselves...just get it. But I really believe the main point she was trying to make was many of those with T2 have a good shot of reversing their T2 with diet and exercise. Maybe they can't "cure" it, but they sure as heck can live a pretty normal life with some lifestyle changes.

Our T1 kiddos are in a totally different boat. And although I see your concern, it is important to let the world know that our children suffer. It is 24/7 all the time, every minute of the day disease. Even sleep is scary. Our world is one of CONSTANT worry...and Shamae wanted those to know that comparing the two, is like comparing apples and oranges.

Once a Type 2 ventures into the insulin territory, they can get an idea of the lifestyle that our children lead. Until then...I think both sides of the coin need to learn that we have no idea what the others life is like, unless we have walked in their shoes. T1 and T2 are confused more than you think. I speak to people daily...educating. The population does not know the difference, and they do not understand how scary T1 is. I often say that T2's insulin is like turtles...it can get the job done, it just needs a little push with meds to speed up the process of delivery. Diet and exercise can also speed up this process in most cases. People often think lifestyle changes can help our kiddos...but alas...it cannot.

Both are serious and both are misunderstood by the public. I know Shamae and she doesn't have a mean bone in her body. She isn't trying to spread misconceptions...she is trying to answer that questions that she is asked ALL THE TIME. Every day. And although no one wants to make broad assumptions, we have to let these people know what the main differences are. They have to be told. There are always exceptions to the rule...but in the grand scheme of things...most T2's need to make lifestyle changes. Both my mother and my father and law have, and their diabetes is on the back burner now so to speak. Those with T1 will never have that luxury.

Reyna said...

In response to the above...Becky, I totally get that we are all in the same boat as far as the long term implications of diabetes. Unfortunately, there is SO much misinformation out there about type 1 and type 2, and the inappropriate "clumping" of them together that as parents of type 1 children we are left to "defend" our childrens' condition daily, to defend ourselves...and to defend every activity they choose to do or not to do...and to defend every morsel of food placed to their lips.

The following is a post that I wrote months ago speaking to my frustrations of this very topic that Shamae posted on so eloquently: Thank you Shamae.

Reyna said...

OK...the post was too long to place on the comment board...the following is a link.

http://betabuddies.blogspot.com/2010/03/whats-in-name.html

We are all in this together. We will educate the public and re-educate until there is understanding and acceptance.

xoxo