As a person intrigued by nutrition, health, and natural medicine, I feel like I hear things about diabetes every day: diabetes linked to this, don’t eat that you could increase your chances of diabetes, or even that diabetes is on the rise as a leading cause of death in the United States. When I took a step back, I realized that I was actually really unfamiliar with the concept of diabetes before becoming a nutrition major in college, so I wanted to take a brief moment to explain the difference between Type one and Type two.
Type one diabetes is known as the genetic version of the two health complications. It commonly occurs in individuals under twenty years of age, and results in high blood sugar levels in the body as the pancreas cannot create enough insulin. There is not a known way to prevent the development of type one diabetes but it can be maintained with a proper diet and insulin therapy.
Type two diabetes is a long term metabolic complication characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and an overall lack of insulin. This type primarily occurs as a result of obesity and a lack of exercise, but can also be contributed to by predisposed genetics. This type is preventable by maintaining a normal weight, eating properly, and exercising regularly. It is also one of the fastest growing health conditions in America today.
Dr. Mayer-Davis, the Department of Nutrition chair at the University of North Caroline Gillings school of Public Health in Chapel Hill, recently analyzed data to create a linear model depicting the rise of diabetes in children. What they found was that Type one diabetes was increasing by about 1.8% annually, while Type two was increasing by more than 4.8%.
In addition to the snowballing numbers of young adults developing these conditions, 2,846 individuals between the ages of ten and nineteen were found to have developed Type two diabetes as a result of findings a “Search for Diabetes in Youth Study”; type two diabetes has been traditionally known to affect individuals over the age of forty-five.
The findings of this study should be alarming, and hopefully if you’re reading this magazine you are already more health-aware than your average American, but don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who needs help! Stay tuned for updates and eat your veggies!