The American Diabetes Association recognizes two types of diabetes that affect 12 million American men—that’s more than 11 percent of all men aged 20 and older
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 is an inherited disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells. It usually strikes suddenly during childhood and persists into adulthood, but sometimes can occur in otherwise healthy adults. That’s why it used to be better known as juvenile or childhood-onset diabetes.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation estimates that 3 million of the 24 million Americans with diabetes have type 1. The American Diabetes Association is more conservative: They say that between 5 to 10 percent of the total diabetic population has type 1.
People with type 1 diabetes will never produce insulin, and therefore must regulate their blood sugar by closely monitoring it and adhering to a strict insulin therapy schedule.
Type 2 Diabetes
Previously referred to as adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 is the most common of the two diabetes types. The National Diabetes Education Program estimates that more than 90 percent of people with diabetes are diagnosed with type 2.
People with type 2 diabetes are genetically predisposed to the disease, and usually develop the condition during middle age as a result of not working out, eating an unhealthy diet, and packing on the pounds. If you’re African American, Latino, or Asian American, you have an even higher risk for developing the disease. The risk for type 2 also increases with age, although more and more young people are being diagnosed as our collective body weight skyrockets.
When you have type 2 diabetes, you do produce insulin, but the pancreas either produces too little or your cells don’t respond to the insulin that is produced. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with diet and exercise, but can sometimes require oral medication or insulin therapy.
Before developing type 2 diabetes, most people experience blood sugar levels that are higher than the average non-diabetic population, but not as high as individuals with type 2. Usually that means their blood glucose is between 140 and 200 micrograms per deciliter. This condition is known as pre-diabetes, and it affects roughly 57 million Americans.
People with pre-diabetes will almost inevitably develop type 2 if they don’t change their lifestyle. Luckily, diet and exercise have been shown to delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
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