ZM lthough they have the same names (but different numbers), type 1 W • diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are not the same disease. They share many features, especially the consequences of not controlling the blood glucose (sugar): microvascular complications like eye disease, kidney disease, and nerve disease; and macrovascular complications like heart disease, stroke, and obstruction of blood vessels, especially in the legs and feet.
The big difference is that T2DM is a lifestyle disease; T1DM is not. What exactly does that mean?
^ Type 2 diabetes is very often preventable by maintaining a normal weight and doing lots of exercise. And diet and exercise go far in preventing complications of the disease.
^ Diet and exercise can't prevent T1DM or its complications. The big difference can be summed up in a single word: insulin. This chemical, present in T2DM for long after the disease begins, is partially or completely absent in T1DM from the beginning. T1DM can be cured by restoring insulin so that it's available to the exact extent as in a person who doesn't have diabetes. (Not that food intake and exercise are unimportant in T1DM. But whereas most people with T2DM are middle-aged, heavy, and sedentary, most people with T1DM are young, lean, and active, at least at the time of diagnosis.)
One important fact is true of both types of diabetes: At the present time, although there's not a cure for either type, drugs and equipment are available to control the disease in such a way that your child need never suffer from long-term complications if you're willing to take the time and put forth the effort to make this happen. In fact, your child may grow up to be healthier than friends without diabetes if you follow the recommendations in this book.
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