What Is Juvenile Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus?

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Juvenile Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus are terms that are still heard. But, what are they? What do they have to do with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

juvenile diabetes

Understanding the Definitions

First of all, let’s clear up a few terms, ok? There are three, actually four types of diabetes. Here is the list, along with other terms that have been used to define them. And, Diabetes Mellitus? That is the official term for Diabetes. On medical records, you will likely see the reference to Diabetes Mellitus. But, in the common world, we just say Diabetes. Now, for the definitions of the four types, including Juvenile Diabetes.

  • Juvenile Diabetes | Juvenile-onset Diabetes | Type 1 Diabetes | Insulin-Dependent (even though Type 2 can have that, too) >> Can lead to ketoacidosis; auto-immune destruction of b-cells in the pancreas
  • Adult Diabetes | Adult-onset Diabetes | Type 2 Diabetes | Includes Insulin-Dependent and Non-Insulin Dependent >> Can lead to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) but not generally ketoacidosis; could be genetics that causes insulin resistance or insulin deficency
    1. associated with obseity
    2. not associated with obesity
  • Gestational Diabetes – only affects women when they are pregnant and often “goes away” after they deliver (but not always). It can vary in severity.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) | Type 3 – This is a newer discover about how the organs and hormones interact and the effect of melatonin, etc. etc. It is the rage in scientific literature but we will just leave it there for now and know that there is another type that is being researched and is often associated with AD.

Back a few decades, Type 1 was referred to as Juvenile Diabetes because generally speaking, Type 1 was a disease that was diagnosed (when it was diagnosed properly) in children. Type 2 diabetes was generally something that would appear in the elderly. But, they have since found that Type 1 can show up in adults and Type 2 can show up in children so the term Juvenile Diabetes while still accurate more times than it is not accurate is not a term that is 100% accurate anymore and so it is not generally used.

Statistics and the Word on the Street

Many people will say that the number of people who have diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2) has really gone up in the past decades but I say that that is because many cases of diabetes went undiagnosed. Sure, there may be some increase in the disease but I know that when I was diagnosed, I almost went undiagnosed and if that had happened and I had died I would not be a statistic of those who had diabetes. Sure, an autopsy would probably reveal the cause and that would be noted in a file but I wouldn’t show up as a diabetic in the statistics and so it could have been said that there were fewer diabetics because I wasn’t alive to be counted. The same thing with Type 2. It may not cause as many deaths as quickly but it will contribute to other ailments, especially in the elderly, and when they die of natural causes their diabetes isn’t counted either.

Children are being diagnosed faster (with better technology) and adults who have diabetes are getting better help and living longer. Of course, that is going to result in the count being higher when referring to statistics in the number of people with diabetes.

No, I maintain that the reason that it seems like there are more diabetics is because the advocacy groups have been doing their job in the past two decades and raising awareness and doctors are learning more about the two diseases and recognizing the symptoms, diagnosing, and treating. That is how the statistics are showing more cases.

And, remember, Type 1 (a.k.a. Juvenile Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus) is different from Type 2 diabetes. I wish they would come up with another name for the diseases because there are almost more differences than similarities! The similarities are alike in the biological aspects and the organ that is affected but the symptoms and outcomes (i.e. Type 1 and death rate) are quite different.

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The Official Description of Diabetes

What they told me is that my body cannot properly store fuel, which is glucose, properly. Ok, so I was a little kid and what does that mean?

Here is the unofficial description of the two types of diabetes so that people can have a better picture. Not many people can draw any sort of picture, let alone understanding, from the official description of any of the diseases. (And, BTW there is a Type 3 diabetes which is what I used to joke about and say that I have… But, we will save that for another article and let’s tackle the Type 1 and Type 2 first.

So, picture Type 1 (a.k.a. Juvenile Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus) as a case where the organ (pancreas) is defective, possibly at birth. The child functions with a defective, worn out organ for as long as he or she can and it gives out eventually and the person needs insulin shots because their pancreas is broken and doesn’t produce insulin anymore. Yes, that has to do with glucose but people don’t necessarily understand that official version but “broken pancreas” is understandable.

Now, Type 2 is the type where the pancreas is still working, but it is tired and not necessarily working to its full capacity. Sometimes, diet and exercise can help so that the pancreas doesn’t need to do as much to balance the body but sometimes even those with Type 2 need insulin shots (or similar) in order to balance everything. Sometimes, they can do it with a pill. Here is another way that I describe the two diseases, with computer terms.

So, you see, it is the same organ but different effect. And, with my description, it makes sense that an adult can get Juvenile Diabetes (a.k.a. Diabetes Mellitus or Type 1) because it is a case where their broken organ simply held on a little longer. It also makes sense that children could get Type 2 (which used to be called Adult Onset) because it is a case of their organ (pancreas) getting tired.

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Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms of Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes) can be (and usually is) very fast. The rise in glucose level (because the pancreas isn’t doing its part) can cause diabetic ketoacidosis and that can lead to death (I’ve experienced that and was minutes away from the death part, with my body already shutting down, including my heart). There are symptoms like increased desire to drink water and the result of having to use the bathroom (like every couple of minutes) and vomiting and unconsciousness, which is the phase right before coma and death. In some cases, depending on how severe the ketoacidosis is, the coma phase can be short and death happens quickly. In other cases, the coma phase could last a while, depending, again, on the circumstances.

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Bonus Section: Treatment Options that Don’t Involve Shots (for Type 2 Diabetes)

Whether the Type 2 Diabetes is associated with obesity or not, food management (meal planning) is often helpful in the management of the Type 2 Diabetes. It is helpful in Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes) but they will still require insulin whereas it is possible that the Type 2 diabetic may not.

Meal Planning

Measure your carbohydrates. You can find those on the label on any food product. For every 15 grams of carbohydrate, that is like one piece of bread. Now, obviously, meeting with a nutritionist is the best plan of action but you can also handle it on your own until you have your appointment. So, back to the 15 grams… Try to watch how much you are eating and maybe you find out that two to three “pieces of bread” is about all that your body can handle without you feeling sick (hyperglycemia). So, if we multiply the 15 grams by the number of pieces of bread, that would be 30 (two pieces of bread) to 45 grams (three pieces of bread).

The protein is good for you but isn’t going to cause the hyperglycemia in the same way that the bread does, turning into glucose right away in your body. The fat… Well, that goes to your belly so it may not affect your Type 2 Diabetes, but you probably want to be careful not to gain too much weight. If you become too large, it is more work for your organs to maintain and that will affect your Type 2 Diabetes.

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