Saturday, May 3, 2008

Which type of diabetes is worse? Part 2

After blogging about Jay Cutler's diagnosis the other day, I ranted a bit about the assumption that type 1 diabetes is worse. I'd like to add a little more to that rant.

People usually assume type 1 diabetes is worse because it requires insulin injections in order to treat, whereas type 2 only requires oral medications. Shots are associated with hospitals and illness, whereas pills have become commonplace in our society.

I remember talking to a coworker who was type 2 shortly after my diagnosis. When I told her that I was taking insulin, she said mournfully, "Oh, you've got it bad."

This, despite the fact that I had virtually perfect control of my sugars just weeks after my diagnosis — while she started out each day with a blood glucose of about 160, and after only a year of diabetes had already begun to lose sensation in her feet! She was on medication, but since she only checked her blood sugar first thing in the morning, there was no telling how far it climbed during the day.

Which brings me to a final point about why I believe I am better off having type 1 diabetes than type 2: I can control my own treatment. A type 2 diabetic has to get a prescription from a doctor for a medication, take it for several weeks before it starts to take full effect, see the doctor again to have him analyze the results, and have him adjust the pill dosage as necessary. Too weak of a dose will mean high sugars all the time, while too strong of a dose will mean lots of hypoglycemic episodes until the doctor changes the dose.

Compare that to my situation, where all I have to do is check my blood sugar and adjust my insulin dose up or down as needed. Which boat would you rather be in?

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