Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Two main types of diabetes are recognized by medical science – Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Each of these has its own distinctive nature (causes, risk factors and complications), while one thing remains the same between the two – both are chronic diseases and affect the way the human body produces and regulates blood sugar levels.

Blood sugar or otherwise known as glucose is the fuel that enables the body’s cells to perform their basic functions. But, in order to enter the cells, glucose needs the help of insulin.

While people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all. People with type 2 diabetes either do not respond well to the insulin present in the body or do not make enough of this essential component to allow glucose to offer fuel to the cells.

Here, in this post, we’ve detailed upon the two main types of diabetic conditions which affect the maximum number of people across the globe – their basic nature, symptoms, causes and preventive measures.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a rare condition that develops only in about 25 percent of people affected by the disease. In this condition, the pancreas fails to produce any insulin, which is necessary for the regulation of blood sugar in the body. Type 1 diabetes strikes when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. What typically causes the immune system to do so, is still a mystery for the medical science.

Type 2 diabetes

This is by far the most common type of diabetes affecting 60 percent of the people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes usually affects individuals falling between 40 and 60 years of age. However, owing to a constantly altering lifestyle, the condition is becoming more prevalent amid younger individuals as well. The symptoms of this disease are not always obvious and, unlike its counterpart, it takes longer than usual to develop.

Causes of Diabetes

While the two conditions share the same name, they have their own set of unique causes.

Type 1 Diabetes

As stated above, type 1 diabetes is a condition caused by an act of the body’s immune system. The defense mechanism mistakes the body’s own healthy insulin-producing beta cells as foreign invaders and attacks and destroys them. Since these beta cells are destroyed, the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin to enable further functionality. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood.

Type 2 Diabetes

In case of type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but it’s unable to process it in an effective and efficient manner. Scientists and researchers, basis studies and surveys, state that most people develop the condition due to an altering lifestyle, such as living a sedentary lifestyle, binging into unhealthy food, inactivity, etc.

Risk factors

Typical risk factors of type 1 diabetes are as follows:

  • Family history: Usually people with a sibling or a parent with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
  • Age: The disease type is not age specific, but mostly found among children and adolescents.
  • Genetics: The existence of certain genes in the body increases the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Please not, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but only controlled. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes, on the other hand increases if a person:

  • Has ever had pre-diabetes
  • Is obese or overweight
  • Has an immediate family member with the same type of diabetic condition
  • Has a lot of belly fat
  • Has given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Is leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Has ever had gestational diabetes – a type that typically develops during pregnancy
  • Is above the age of 40 years
  • Has polycystic ovarian syndrome

It is possible to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by making the following lifestyle changes:

  • Maintaining the right weight
  • Working with a dietitian to lose excess weight
  • Increase activity levels
  • Eat a balanced diet

Symptoms of Diabetes

Both the types of diabetes share many common symptoms. These are as follows:

  • Feeling hungry all the time
  • Feeling very fatigued
  • Feeling thirsty and drinking a lot of water
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts or sores which take time to heal

Individuals who develop type 1 diabetes also experience solid mood swings, stay irrigated and unintentionally lose a lot of weight. On the other hand, individuals with type 2 diabetes usually experience tingling and numbness in hands or feet.

Treating Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

There’s no particular permanent cure available for type 1 diabetes. Since the bodies of people with this condition fail to produce any insulin, it becomes mandatory for them to inject insulin via injections in the bloodstream on a regular basis. The insulin can be infused through the soft tissue in the body, such as those present in the stomach, arm, buttocks, etc. Other people use insulin pumps to do the needful. Insulin pumps smartly regulate a steady supply of insulin into the body through a small tube.

Frequent blood sugar testing is important to manage type 1 diabetes, as the levels quickly fluctuate and can cause grave unexpected damage to the body.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can be easily controlled and even reversed by bringing a change in one’s lifestyle. However, if these changes are not introduced timely or aren’t enough, physicians typically prescribe certain medications to help the body regulate insulin and manage blood sugar levels.

Diabetes Diet

Managing the right nutritional intake is an important part of managing diabetes. Individuals with type 1 diabetes must work closely with their physicians to understand the amount of insulin they must inject in the body to enable it to control the condition, especially after eating certain types of foods. For instance, eating a carb rich diet can cause the blood glucose levels to quickly increase. Here, the intake must be countered by insulin in order to keep the blood sugar levels in check.

However, individuals with type 2 diabetes need to pay more attention to eating a healthy diet. Weight loss is one of the most important parts of a type 2 diabetes treatment plan, and hence, the physician recommends people with this condition to follow a low-calorie meal plan. This further means that reducing the intake of animal fat and junk food.