Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Everyone is familiar with perhaps the most common disease of today- Diabetes. However, Most of the people cannot make out the difference between the two types of diabetes- Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. To understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, one must first know the basic principle underlying the disease called diabetes.


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus or the common diabetes is a disorder of body metabolism. Metabolism, in turn means the way our body digests and uses food we eat for providing energy and growth to our body. Whatever we eat is broken down to produce glucose- a form of sugar- that gives us energy and keeps our body growing. This glucose enters the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. When we eat food, pancreas automatically produce the hormone insulin which helps glucose in entering body cells. In this way, the glucose in our blood is utilized and the blood sugar level remains optimum.

Now, if anyone suffers from diabetes, there is an anamoly of the whole process of insulin production and usage. This leads to high blood sugar levels because glucose is not able to enter into the cells. This condition is known as hyperglycemia. There are two types of such anamolies referred to as Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

When a human body does not produce the hormone insulin, it is called Type 1 diabetes. Here the patient has to take insulin regularly to stay alive.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

When our body cells fail to respond to the insulin in the right manner, it is called Type 2 diabetes.
Either enough insulin is not produced by the body or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly. When insulin does not work in the right manner, the condition is known as insulin resistance

What is the Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Here are some striking differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Autoimmune disease- body does not create insulin hormone Lifestyle related disease- causes due to insulin resistance where cells fail to use insulin properly
Appears before 40 years of age Appears late in life
Cannot be prevented. Can be prevented with proper lifestyle
Risk factors include genetic factor and other conditions that affect the immune system Risk factors include aging, obesity, family history, physical inactivity, ethnicity, and impaired glucose metabolism.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)- Has to take insulin regularly non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)- Can be regulated through oral diabetes medications

The above points have been described in details below.

  • Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In such types of diseases a body itself destroys certain good things in it. Here, in the case of diabetes, the body destroys insulin-producing beta cells present in the pancreas. Type 2 Diabetes, on the other hand, is a lifestyle related disease. Overweight and unfit people develop Type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 1 Diabetes, in most of the cases appear before the person attains 40 years of age. Therefore, it is also called Juvenile Diabetes or Childhood Diabetes. The onset of Type 1 diabetes after the age of 40 is very rare. Approximately 15% of all diabetes patients have Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes, on the other hand appear late in life. However, as children these days do not play much or do physical activities, the instances of people developing Type 2 diabetes in their 20s is on increase. Around 85% of all diabetes patients have Type 2 diabetes.
  • Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented. Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented if a proper lifestyle is followed.
  • In Type 1 Diabetes, genetic factors have an important role but till now the scientists have not been able to identify the particular genes responsible for this. Some other conditions that affects the immune systemmay also trigger the onset of Type 1 diabetes. These include such diseases as Hashimoto’s disease , Grave’s disease , Addison’s disease , Pernicious anemia , Celiac disease , Vitiligo , Lupus , Rheumatoid arthritis , Crohn’s disease . Certain viruses like those causing mumps, hepatitis, cytomegalovirus etc. also increase the risk for this type of diabetes. The risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes include aging, obesity, family history, physical inactivity, ethnicity, and impaired glucose metabolism.
  • The patients of Type 1 diabetes have to regularly take insulin while those with Type 2 diabetes may be treated with oral medications. However, sometimes, the Type 2 patients may be placed on insulin to control blood sugars in a better way.

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