I would like to share some thoughts on Type 1 vs Type 2 treatments. In my diabetes story, I spoke about being surrounded by a sense of urgency when I was first diagnosed with diabetes. I wonder whether this same sense of urgency exist when a typical person is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My impressions are that this is not the case and there are probably a number of reasons for it. The first is that at its onset, Type 2 Diabetes is not as potentially damaging as Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). With Type 2 Diabetes , there are many more combination of approaches that can be taken to control the condition and to deliver good management of the condition. This may range from controlling diabetes through diet (good nutrition) and exercise to taking a combination of medicines including pills and insulin injections to control the condition.
In the case of most Type 1 Diabetics, there is little to no insulin being produced by the body, so they have to immediately adopt a regimen of replacement insulin therapy either through injections or an insulin pump. From day one, the Type 1 diabetic must adopt a more rigorous diabetes treatment plan consisting of testing blood sugars, tracking food intake and administering insulin to cover meals and to keep blood sugars in an acceptable range to be able to effectively manage the condition. The options for treatment for the Type 1 diabetic is limited but in some ways this may be good thing. Once an effective treatment plan has been tested and implemented, it becomes a matter of staying on that plan and of course monitoring and updating the plan if needed, on a regular basis.
In the case of Type 2 Diabetic, choosing from the many different treatment options that are available for managing the condition could itself prove to be a challenge. I also suspect that for many type 2 diabetics, the last thing that they want to do is to have to inject insulin. Perhaps for some the need to inject insulin might be perceived as a step that diabetics take on the way on a journey to defeat. I think that it is very instructive to dwell on this for a moment. As a type 1 diabetic, when I realized that I could use insulin to control and manage my diabetes, I saw this a path towards victory over my disease. Imagine those Type 2 diabetic out there who may have started on a treatment regimen that consisted of diet and exercise, and then later progressed to taking a pill. If their diabetes worsens and they have to begin administering insulin, it is not likely that this will be viewed as a victory. My thoughts on type 1 vs type 2 treatments are that regardless of the diagnosis, we need a rigorous plan to manage both.
I believe that it becomes more difficult to adopt a sense of urgency and to begin the use the tools and practices that are necessary to ensure good diabetes control if that has not been practiced from the outset. The point here, which is not to be missed, is that diabetes at any stage must be treated with a sense of urgency. A sense of urgency means that a rigorous “round the clock” plan must be implemented in order to keep your diabetes in control.
One of the key components of the rigorous plan that must be adopted is a mindset that says that I will do what it takes to beat diabetes and not to let diabetes beat me. I truly believe that if the person does not adopt a mindset to beat diabetes at the moment he or she is diagnosed, it becomes, more difficult to do that as the disease progresses and becomes worse.
It is also my impression that some diabetes caregivers also fall into the same trap. Patients that are diagnosed as diabetics are treated with kid gloves and they do not receive the message that the condition needs to be treated with a sense of urgency at the very start. One of the “sayings” that is heard a lot in the African American “ community is that someone diagnosed with diabetes has a “little sugar”. However, there is very little lifestyle change that is made to combat the condition. It is only when the diabetic patient health starts to dramatically deteriorates and they begin to experience complications that the alarms start to go off.
The challenge with managing diabetes is that the treatment regimen has to be specific to each particular individual. I think its safe to say that there is no one pill that we can take that will control our blood sugar and get them into an acceptable range so that we don’t have to be concerned about the foods we are consuming and how our food intake will affect our blood glucose levels.
What this implies is that regardless of the type of diabetes that you have, TYPE 1 or TYPE 2, the best way to ensure the best control of your diabetes and to ensure better health outcomes is by adopting a rigorous treatment plan at the very outset. Again, these are my thoughts on type 1 vs type 2 treatments.