Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes: knowing the difference
As diabetes continues to be a growing concern for many Americans, education is one of the most effective tools for managing this disease. If you’ve heard about diabetes from health professionals or have read about it in the news, you’ve probably noticed the phrases “type 1” and “type 2.” It’s important to understand the difference between the major types of diabetes in order to develop a plan for managing the disease and living healthily. But what exactly does “type 1” and “type 2” mean? First, a brief vocabulary lesson: any type of diabetes means that blood glucose (or blood sugar) is too high. Insulin is an important factor in glucose levels because it’s responsible for delivering blood sugar to the body’s cells for energy. If glucose is unable to be delivered to the cells, it remains in the blood, resulting in diabetes. There are different circumstances that lead to diabetes, and this is where the different types come in. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), type 1 and type 2 diabetes differ on several key points: Type 1
- Formerly called “juvenile diabetes,” type 1 is usually diagnosed early in life.
- Diabetes results because the beta cells of the pancreas have been attacked and destroyed by the body’s immune system and they no longer produce insulin.
- Treatment often includes injections of insulin or other medications, along with maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
- Formerly called “adult-onset diabetes,” type 2 can develop at any stage in a person’s life, and it is the most common form of diabetes.
- Diabetes results from an insulin resistance caused by malfunctioning muscle, liver, and fat cells. The pancreas usually begins producing more insulin, but eventually it can’t keep up.
- Treatment often includes taking diabetes medicines, along with maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.