The Two Types of Diabetes

Jo Wong, KPT Researcher

Diabetes is a disorder that occurs when the body loses the ability to manage insulin production. Insulin is a hormone, or messenger chemical, that allows cells in the body to take in and use glucose, a sugar, for energy. In diabetics, the body is desensitised or unable to otherwise use insulin for its intended purpose, and cells progressively lose the ability to use energy from sugars. This results in high blood sugar, which causes a myriad of other complications, such as increased thirst and hunger, blurry vision, tiredness, and slow healing. If left unchecked, diabetic ketoacidosis may occur, where the body runs out of options due to being unable to metabolize sugars and turns to burning fats to gain energy – which results in rapid weight loss, coma, and death if not treated. Diabetes is divided into two main types, types 1 and 2, which have similar manifestations, but has very different root causes.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where a person loses the ability to produce and regulate insulin due to the body destroying the beta cells in the pancreas, where insulin is produced. Why this happens is still under study but causes appear to be at least partially genetic.

Pancreatic Beta Cells, where insulin is produced.
Pancreatic Beta Cells, where insulin is produced

Type 2 diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is the type associated with the majority of diabetic cases. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where cells are progressively desensitised and rendered unable to respond to normal amounts of insulin. This means that for a given amount of insulin released, the body’s response is lower than expected. This eventually results in similar results as untreated type 1 diabetes, and runaway fat burning. Both types are treated with insulin injections and are long term managed problems requiring careful control of diet, exercise and blood glucose and ketoacidosis monitoring.

King’s Phase Technologies’ developments in ketone sensors allows our products to be useful for diabetic monitoring. Our ketone sensors allow breath monitoring of diabetic ketoacidosis, and our product allows help in diet and weight control for diabetics.