Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes - Healthians

Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes

difference between type 1 & type 2 diabetes

Contributed by: Dr. Pooja Chaudhary

Are you a diabetic? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from diabetes? Diabetes is a major chronic disease that has become a part of almost every household.

Diabetes is often recognized with high blood sugar levels  which affects the health drastically. But when it comes to distinguishing between the types of diabetes the confusion seeps in, it is really important to identify the exact symptoms to get the correct treatment.

Are you confused about between the types of diabetes? Well, you are not alone.

Most of us are not aware about the types of diabetes and the havoc that diabetes can wreck in our lives. It is absolutely necessary to know how to differentiate and identify the kind of diabetes to get timely and proper treatment. Let us read to be fully prepared to combat this life threatening disorder.


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affect the blood sugar levels of the body. The food we eat is turned into blood glucose which is major source of energy in our bodies. Pancreas produce a hormone called insulin which helps the glucose (from food) to get to the cells to be further utilised as energy source. But unfortunately in some cases the body loses it’s ability to produce enough or any insulin at all. Thus the glucose is not properly utilised by the body which increases the level of glucose in the blood. This causes an excess of glucose in the blood which further leads to several health problems.


What are the different types of diabetes?  

Diabetes can basically be distinguished into two types: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Both of them are identified with increased blood sugar levels which makes them really difficult differentiate. But the causes and symptoms are really different in both the cases which makes it really important to get your facts right and deal with them properly.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakes its own cells as invaders and attacks them. Immune system; the protector of the body starts destroying the goods and healthy cells which makes the body weak. The immune system wrongly attacks the insulin producing beta cells of pancreas as they consider the cells as threat to the body. The beta cells are completely destroyed gradually which hampers the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. People suffering from type 1 diabetes have to take insulin dosages everyday inorder to survive.

Treatment: Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed at an early age. Insulin is a compulsory rather than a  choice of treatment for type 1 diabetes. One has to tackle the lack of insulin production in the body with the daily dosage of insulin through injections or pumps.


Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body loses its ability to respond to insulin which is commonly  known as insulin resistance. Thus to compensate for the ineffectiveness to respond to insulin the body starts producing more insulin. Thus putting extra burden on the beta cells for insulin production which overtime destroys them and causes complete beta cells failure. People suffering from type 2 diabetes may also need insulin injections mostly because of two reasons:

  • Low sensitivity to insulin
  • Beta cells failure

Treatment: Treatment for type 2 is much more complicated as the body produces enough insulin but is not able to use the produced insulin effectively. People suffering from type 2 diabetes are often advised to make healthy lifestyle modifications  to control the blood sugar levels with recommended medications. There are a many types or classes of drugs used for the treatment of  type 2 diabetes.


What are the differences between Type 1 and type 2 diabetes ?

Type 1 and type 2 although very similar in a lot of aspects have some really important distinguishing factors.

Type I Diabetes Type II Diabetes
It is an autoimmune disorder which is mostly diagnosed during childhood  Not an autoimmune disorder and is generally diagnosed after a particular age  (after 30 years of age in most cases)
Most common symptom includes weight loss The most common symptom is unexplained weight gain
It is often identified with an increased ketone level Whereas type 2 diabetes is often associated with high blood pressure or cholesterol levels are also
The treatment includes injections or insulin pumps Treatment includes tablets whereas the initial treatment does not include any medication
Intake of insulin is absolutely necessary for survival in this case The treatment includes proper medication and lifestyle changes, not everyone needs insulin injections in this case.

Which is worse, type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

Most of us really confused about the kinds of diabetes and are unaware of their exact impact on life. We often wonder which of the above two mentioned types of diabetes is more harmful or is more difficult to cure. This is a very complicated question to answer as both of them are chronic diseases and can be fatal if not treated properly and on time. The signs and symptoms of both types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 are not that different.

The typical  symptoms for diabetes are the same for both type 1 and type 2 like:

  • Increased urine output (polyuria)
  • Increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • Increased hunger (Polyphagia )
  • Unexplained weight loss

Thus it is really difficult to get to a conclusion, diabetes irrespective of it’s type needs proper and careful treatment. Long-term complications of both type I and II diabetes are related to damage to the blood vessels. These complications can lead to various complications and drastically affect different parts of the body involving the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels etc.

Diabetes is a constant war which needs solid patience and willpower to overcome it. But with proper lifestyle changes and correct treatment it is possible to defeat this chronic disease.


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