What’s the difference between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?
The difference between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes is still a question I get asked all the time, despite the diabetic population growing and growing (although only 5-10 people out of 100 are Type 1). People are still not sure what the heck the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is and that confusion can be the source of a lot of misplaced judgment and even some health risks for those with the disease.
The 4 biggest differences that indicate Type 1 Diabetes is:
- The person does not produce insulin whatsoever.
- It cannot be prevented and it cannot be cured.
- You get low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
- The person is usually diagnosed because they are very ill from having a very high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. The most common symptoms are itchy dry skin, fatigue, an increase in appetite, blurred vision and frequent urination.
- The person must be prescribed insulin in order to control their diabetes.
The 4 biggest differences that indicate Type 2 Diabetes is:
- The person does produce insulin but it is not being properly used in the body also known as insulin resistance, if this problem (Type 2 diabetes) continues long term, the body may produce less and less insulin also known as insulin deficiency.
- It can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle; with frequent exercise and a balanced diet. The healthy lifestyle is usually what helps the person’s insulin work correctly within the body and can cure the Type 2 diabetes.
- The person does not get low blood sugar unless they are administering prescription insulin and the low blood sugar is caused by taking too much.
- The person is usually not ill when diagnosed although sometimes they do have or develop the symptoms of high blood sugar that result in itchy dry skin, fatigue, an increase in appetite, blurred vision and frequent urination.
- The person may be able to control their diabetes without the use of prescription insulin.
The Main Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
So to sum it up the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is whether or not the body is still producing insulin. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys your beta cells where your natural insulin is made.
We all need insulin to live. When we eat food, our bodies need the sugar (glucose) from that food to enter your cells to give you energy and without the hormone, insulin (or enough of it) that process fails. When the sugar from your food fails to make it to your cells, it builds up in your bloodstream while starving your cells. This process causes high blood sugar and the symptoms of high blood sugar are usually how anyone with either type of diabetes is diagnosed.
Most of the diabetics I have met had two major signs that led them to their diagnosis; frequent urination during the night and intense fatigue during the day. If you feel like you have any strange symptoms, always head to the doctor as soon as possible. The difference really can be life or death. And for those of you that are newly diagnosed, don’t worry it gets easier. The finger pricks, needle pokes, counting carbs and eating healthy just becomes a way of life. You’re still just like everybody else except now you take insulin.
Be safe <3
Learn more about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.