The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition in which there are elevated levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Normally insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, lowers blood glucose levels by moving glucose into the body’s cells where it can be used as energy or stored for later use. With diabetes, the production and/or use of insulin by the body is affected. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes (also called Juvenile Onset or Insulin Dependent), and Type 2 Diabetes (also called Adult onset or Non-insulin
Dependent). Both, type 1 and 2 diabetes have similar symptoms in the early stages including unusual thirst, frequent urination, feeling really tired, feeling hungry, weight loss, blurry eyesight, and tingling or numbness in the feet or hands.
Diabetes: Type 1 vs. Type 2
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong, chronic disease in which the high glucose levels in the blood are caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, and requires daily insulin injections for life. As opposed to type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is primarily diagnosed in children and young adults, usually under age 30. Researchers believe that it is caused by a virus or an autoimmune response where the body attacks its own beta cells (cells responsible for insulin production) and that is hereditary, meaning it can be passed on genetically in families.
Type 2 diabetes, the more common form of diabetes, is also a lifelong, chronic disease in which the high levels of glucose are caused by the body’s inability to respond appropriately to insulin, often referred to as insulin resistance. As with type 1, type 2 diabetes has the same end result-the blood sugar is unable to get into the cells to be used or stored for energy. The primary risk factor for acquiring type 2 diabetes is obesity (a bodyweight 20% above an ideal bodyweight). Although family history, ethnic background and age can play a role in development of type 2 diabetes, it is largely a disease resulting from poor diet, inactivity, and excess bodyweight. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and previously impaired glucose tolerance may also contribute to one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes basically lies in the risk factors. While acquiring type 1 diabetes is largely out of one’s control, many things can be done to guard against or limit the chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle can play a huge part in preventing this disease. Even if one has already acquired the disease, diet and exercise are, first and foremost, established as the main treatment for managing type 2 diabetes. By eating right, losing weight, and becoming more active the body’s own insulin will be able to better control blood sugar levels. Medications and insulin are added as needed to treat the disease when unmanageable.
Type 1 versus Type 2 Diabetes: Living with the Disease
Photo credit: talesofrachel
As far as symptoms and complications, there is no major difference between diabetes 1 and 2. Both have acute and chronic conditions that have to be monitored very, very closely. Acute conditions include situations of really high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), and very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), both of which pose a great risk and can lead to shock, coma, and even death if not promptly treated. Chronic conditions and complications related to diabetes types 1 and 2 are blood vessel diseases (both small and large), that can cause eye complications, kidney damage, nerve damage, and atherosclerosis, increasing the risk for angina, heart attack, and stroke.
Closely monitoring glucose levels, and following a treatment plan, as well as strict adherence to doctor prescribed diet and exercise make a HUGE difference in preventing these complications and conditions from occurring.
Even though diabetes can be scary, with the help of your doctor, it is manageable. By understanding that you are the best resource for managing the disease, you can get yourself mentally and physically prepared to live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes does not have to define you. By understanding and following through with your prescribed treatment, you won’t just exist, but can live a happy, fulfilling, satisfying life.
American Diabetes Association. Retrieved on January 27, 2012 from http://www.diabetes.org/
Diabetes Mellitis. (2012) Retrieved on January 27, 2012 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Diabetes+mellitus-Type+1+vs+Type+2
Diabetes Mellitis. Retrieved on January 27, 2012 from http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm
Type 1 Diabetes. (Last Reviewed June 28, 2011). Retrieved on January 27, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001350/
Type 2 Diabetes. (Last Reviewed June 28, 2011). Retrieved on January 27, 2011 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001356/