However, there are an overwhelming amount of Type 2s all over the world, and the Middle East is not immune to that trend. Type 2 and "pre-diabetes" are also seen in teens and young adults here.
So while we always see images of senior citizens in Type 2 diabetes ads, this is not always the case. Some populations are genetically prone to develop it at younger ages.
What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2?
Type 1 is when the body stops producing insulin altogether. This is typically autoimmune related. It was not caused by food, but food has a lot to do with how it is managed. Type 1s need insulin to survive.
In Type 2, the pancreas can make insulin, but not enough of it. Or, that insulin is not able to get where it needs to in order to create energy in the body. Sometimes Type 2 patients take insulin, sometimes not. There is no cure for diabetes, but leading institutions share the belief that you can often manage your Type 2 to decrease the amount of medication you require, or delay the requirement of medication.
So if you are Type 2 and in school, or have a Type 2 going to school what should you do?
- Tell those who need to know. Of course you can advocate and share information about Type 2 with others, but at minimum, those closest to you or your child need to know. This includes the school nurse, teachers, coaches, bus drivers and any other personnel on the bus and close friends.
- Make sure you have your medical supplies with you at school, or kept in a safe place where you can easily access them when you need them. This includes your glucometer, medicine if prescribed, treatment for low blood sugars, etc.
- Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about how to handle school parties and food.
- Focus on healthy eating and learn about what food best fuels you or your child's body to help manage diabetes.
- School can be stressful, especially during exam time. It may effect blood sugars as do the hormones in our bodies that change as we grow. Ask your doctor how to manage blood sugar fluctuations that result from these. Also, do not under estimate the value of activity. Playing sports, or even going for a walk will help manage stress and blood sugars.
And whatever you do, do not be ashamed of your condition. You did not choose diabetes. It chose you. There is continued compelling research out there that indicates Type 2 diabetes is the result of genetic factors.
Do not let diabetes stop you or your child from achieving your goals!