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As you probably know, there are two different types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. They both have different causes yet they also have two common factors. First you must inherit a predisposition to the disease and secondly something in your environment triggers the diabetes. Genes alone are not enough.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with type 1 diabetes need to inherit risk factors from both parents. However, that alone is not enough to cause type 1 diabetes. Environmental factors are also important. One environmental trigger may be related to cold weather as type 1 diabetes more often develops in the winter than summer and is more common in colder climates.
In type 2 diabetes, family history of the disease is one of the strongest risk factors for getting the disease. However, again environmental or life style factors are also very important. Such things as obesity and lack of exercise or sedentary life style are risk factors for diabetes.
Provena Mercy Medical Center is a proud sponsor of the Annual Step-Out Walk to Fight against Diabetes on Saturday, October 16, 2010 at Pottawatomie Park in St. Charles. Every dollar raised through Step Out plays an important role in supporting the Associations mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information or to register, please visit diabetes.org/stepout or call 1-888-DIABETES.
Answer submitted by Maria Aurora Diaz, Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Practice Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator & Clinical Manager of the Provena Mercy Medical Center for Diabetic Wellness.
Yes, type 1.5 diabetes does exist, and this condition could be thought of as a hybrid between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The typical patient with type 1.5 diabetes is aged 30-50 years and is not overweight. Generally, they test positive for pancreatic antibodies, especially GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) which cause a decline in insulin secretion more gradually than in type 1 diabetics. Patients with type 1.5 diabetes can initially control their sugar with oral agents, such as metfromin and sulfonylureas, however, they generally progress to insulin therapy within two to four years which is sooner than most type 2 diabetics. Some studies within the past few years have suggested treating type 1.5 diabetes with insulin from the onset may more effectively prevent/delay diabetic complications.
This is certainly a question I am asked often. The most recent body of research does seem to be suggesting that an excess of sugar in the diet from foods or beverages may put a person at higher risk for Type 2 Diabetes. What is not completely clear, is whether the increased risk is due to the sugar itself or the increased weight a person may gain as a result of the additional calories. When we are carrying extra weight, our body can become resistant to the action of the insulin we produce. This insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. So, if you could eat a banana split every night and not gain any weight, would you be at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes? Maybe not, but how many of us can do that?