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Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (DM1) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells. This happens as
a mistake, because the organism identifies them as foreign bodies. Its action is an autoimmune response. This kind of reaction also
occurs with other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and thyroid diseases.
DM1 appears when the organism stops producing insulin (or when it only produces a very small amount of it). When that happens,
it is necessary to take insulin to live and stay healthy. People need daily insulin injections to regulate the sugar metabolism. Without
insulin, the glucose cannot reach the cells, which need it to burn it and turn it into energy. With time, high levels of glucose accumulated
in the blood can affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, or the heart.
Most people with DM1 develop large amounts of self-antibodies, which circulate in the bloodstream for some time before the disease
is diagnosed. Antibodies are proteins generated in the organism to destroy germs or viruses. Self-antibodies are antibodies with
“bad behavior,” that is, they attack the person’s own body tissues. In cases of DM1, self-antibodies can attack the pancreatic cells
that produce insulin.
It is unclear why people develop DM1. It is known that in some cases people are born with genes that give them a predisposition for
the disease. But other people have the same genes and do not have diabetes. It could be something from the organism itself, or
an external cause, such as an emotional loss. Or it could also be some sort of aggression by certain kinds of viruses like the coxsackie
virus. Another piece of information is that, in general, it is more frequent in people under 35 years of age, but it is worth mentioning that
it could appear at any age.
  People with high or badly controlled levels of blood glucose can present:  
  Desire to urinate several times
  Frequent hunger
  Constant thirst
  Weight loss
  Mood swings
Sources: Norwood, Janet W. & Inlander, Charles B. Entendendo a Diabetes – Para educação do Paciente. Julio Louzada Publications. São Paulo, 2000.
Diabetes from A to Z: what you need to know about diabetes explained in a simple way. American Diabetes Association. JSN editora. São Paulo, 1998.
Type 2 Diabetes
It is known that type 2 diabetes has a greater hereditary factor than type 1. In addition, it is largely related to obesity and sedentariness.
It is estimated that 60 to 90% of the people with the disease are obese. The incidence is higher after the age of 40, but can happen at
any age.
One of its peculiarities is the continuous production of insulin by the pancreas. The problem lies in the muscle and fat cells’ incapability
to uptake it. For many different reasons, their cells are not able to metabolize enough glucose from the bloodstream. This is an anomaly
called “insulin resistance.”
Type 2 diabetes is approximately 8 to 10 times more common than type 1 diabetes and might respond to treatment with a diet and
physical exercise. Some other times it may require oral medication, and ultimately, a combination of both with insulin.
  Main Symptoms  
  Frequent infections
  Visual changes (blurred vision)
  Wound healing difficulty
  Foot tingling
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