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Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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

While many people understand that type 1 and type 2 are two separate categories of diabetes, the symptoms and diagnosis of both are commonly overlapped.  It is incredibly important to understand the differences between type 1 and 2 because treatment, management, and overall symptoms can not be dealt with the same way.

Type 1 Diabetes

Is passed on genetically and is usually diagnosed early on in a person’s life usually between the ages 4 – 14 years old.  Essentially a person’s immune system rids the body of essential insulin-producing cells located in the pancreas.  This has nothing to do with age, weight, or lifestyle, and unfortunately cannot be fully cured, but only managed with treatment.  While there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, type 1 diabetics can live a full and happy life with proper treatment and medical care

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  • Increased thirst, and dry mouth
  • Frequent need to pee
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Excessive fatigue and weakness
  • Blurred vision

Diagnosing Type 1 Diabetes

Like type 2 diabetes, in order to be diagnosed with type 1 blood tests are required.  This can be done through an A1C screening, which measures your blood sugar levels from the past 2-3 months.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diagnosis that is predominantly caused by age, weight, and most importantly lifestyle.  People living with type 2  are still able to produce small amounts of insulin, but not enough to maintain bodily functions.  This results in the pancreas not being able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.   In some cases, people living with type 2 and also type 1 can develop insulin resistance, causing the body to not recognize the insulin that the pancreas is producing.  

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased hunger
  • Itchy skin

Possible Treatments for  type 2 diabetes:

Unlike type 1, people living with type 2 are often able to have their symptoms put into remission. A balanced diet, exercising, and blood glucose monitoring can be the best form of treatment for people living with type 2.   

In Summary

Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics that typically shows up early in life, and type 2 diabetes is developed over time, due to lifestyle circumstances. In both situations, the body is unable to properly regulate insulin distribution causing the need for treatment.   It is essential for as many people as possible to be educated in the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, to learn more, read the Share Your Story section on The Diabetes App.  

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