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What Makes Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Different?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects a large group of people around the world. It is fairly common and stems from high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to absorb sugar into the cells. While this is the overall definition of diabetes, this disease can be split into Type One and Type Two diabetes; with each meaning something different. 

On one hand, type one diabetes develops when a person’s body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that allows sugar to be absorbed from the food we eat into our cells. When there is insufficient or no insulin in our bodies, little to no sugar is absorbed which means that the sugar broken down from our food stays in our bloodstream; resulting in high blood sugar levels. 

 

Type Two diabetes, on the other hand, refers to people whose bodies do not react well to insulin and don’t produce enough insulin during later stages of the disease. There are also many health complications and ailments that come with diabetes and this article will give you an overview of how Type One and Type Two diabetes differ. 

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

While both types of diabetes have a lot of symptoms in common, they differ in the speed that they develop. Some common symptoms are incessant urination, constant hunger, and thirst, fatigue, deteriorating vision and injuries that don’t completely heal. Symptoms that are unique to type one diabetes are things like irritability, mood changes and a loss in weight. For type two diabetes, some unique symptoms include numbness and tingling. The biggest difference in their symptoms is that the symptoms for type two diabetes develop gradually over a period of many years while the symptoms for type one diabetes usually develop rapidly over a few weeks. 

What Causes Diabetes?

For type one diabetes, the disease develops when there is a flaw in the body’s immune system, causing it to fend off healthy cells instead of viruses. The result is that healthy insulin-producing beta cells are crushed in the process. As this continues, the body loses its ability to generate insulin and blood sugar levels will rise indefinitely. 

In contrast, type two diabetes is the result of the body’s inability to use insulin. This can be the outcome of being overweight or unfit. As such, the pancreas will attempt to repair the body by generating more insulin but since the body is not apt in using it, sugar will concentrate and remain in the body’s bloodstream. 

How Common is Diabetes?

Although there are two types of diabetes, type two diabetes occurs in more people in the world than type one. However, as people grow older, the chances of getting diabetes increases. While gender does not affect the speed at which one develops the disease, some races and ethnicities are more prone to the disease than others. For example, American Indians and Alaskan Natives have a higher percentage of their population getting the disease. 

What are the Risk Factors for Type One and Type Two Diabetes?

Lifestyle and diet habits play a part in getting the disease but this is not always true. For type one diabetes, it is unavoidable as the risk factors stem from family history and genetics. If you have a family member who has type one diabetes, there is a higher chance that you might get it as well. Other factors are things like age as young children and youths are more likely to develop type one diabetes. Where you stay also plays a part as people who stay a greater distance away from the equator are more at risk. 

On the other hand, type two diabetes is different in the fact that there are things you can do to prevent its occurrence. Type two diabetes develops when one has prediabetes, is overweight, over the age of 45, have gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome before, a lot of belly fat or is unfit, among other things. Despite so, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting the disease; some ways include keeping your weight within the acceptable range, increasing the amount of physical activity you partake in and eating less sugary and over-processed food items.

How are Type One and Type Two Diabetes Diagnosed?

It is a fairly simple procedure when it comes to checking if you have diabetes. All you’ll need is to go for a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test which will measure your blood sugar level over the past few months. If your A1C level exceeds 6.5, you will be diagnosed with diabetes. 

How are Type One and Type Two Diabetes Treated?

There is no remedy for someone with type one diabetes and they will need to rely on constant injections of insulin throughout the day to keep their insulin levels steady. They are usually injected in the stomach, arms, or buttocks; some may even use insulin pumps. Another point is that they’ll need to check their blood sugar levels regularly.

In comparison, type two diabetes is less tricky to treat if you are willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes. This means paying close attention to the food you eat and making it a point to exercise more. Sometimes, that is insufficient and some people may need medications to aid their body in using insulin better. Similar to type one diabetes, the constant checking of blood sugars is imperative to avoid health ailments.

Diabetes Diet

In order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, your diet is of utmost importance. For type one diabetics, you’ll need to take note of the types of food you eat and count your carbohydrates as they are the number one culprit in raising your blood sugar levels. This will then determine the amount of insulin you’ll need to match what you eat. 

For type two diabetics, you will need to concentrate on decreasing the amount of junk food you consume. Losing weight is often the focus of most and you can do so by watching your calorie intake. 

Diabetes can happen to anyone so it is imperative to educate yourself earlier and pre-empt yourself for what’s to come if you have had a family member with this disease. Attempt to make lifestyle changes starting today if you are worried and definitely adjust your diet and physical activities if you have been diagnosed to play it safe.