I read an article in your paper, “Local bicyclists ride to fight diabetes,” by Adrienne Harris (Oct. 7), and I would like to clarify some common misconceptions about diabetes that came through in the article.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are very different, and the distinction is important, especially for young children. This article lumps them together, for example writing, “We have to understand that diabetes is (sometimes) preventable and treatable with lifestyle (changes),” a quote taken from the medical director at the Center for Endocrinology and Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disease that attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. It is not preventable, it is not “treatable,” and it cannot be cured through diet and exercise. It is a life-threatening disease without a cure or a known cause.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the cells lose their ability to respond to insulin. Chronic exposure to being overweight, combined with not enough exercise, in addition to other factors such as a genetic predisposition, contribute to the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 children and adults are insulin dependent, requiring a lifetime of daily insulin injections to survive. Type 2 is the one that can be managed with oral medication and positive changes can occur with healthier diet and exercise choices.
Mother of a son with Type 1