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Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes: Meaning, Symptoms, Risks & More

Dr Rishika Agarwal 1198 Views
Updated: 12 Dec 2023
Published: 12 Dec 2023
Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that manifests either when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin or if the body fails to utilise insulin effectively. In today's world, where health is considered wealth, diabetes remains a significant health issue affecting millions. In fact, till 2021, around 537 million adults aged between 20 and 79 years were grappling with this disease. These numbers are projected to increase to a staggering 783 million by 2045.

Out of the different forms of this serious health condition, type 1 and type 2 diabetes particularly pose intricate challenges, and impact lives on an unprecedented scale. In this blog, we’ll discuss in detail the causes, types, symptoms, and prevention of these two types of diabetes.

What are the Different Types of Diabetes?

Three main types of diabetes manifest at ages due to certain factors:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and eliminates pancreatic insulin-producing cells. It is often diagnosed in infancy or adolescence and requires lifelong insulin shots to manage blood sugar.

  • Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is primarily caused by lifestyle factors such as poor food and lack of exercise. It is characterised by insulin resistance or insufficient insulin production. It typically manifests in adulthood. However, due to rising obesity rates, it is increasingly affecting younger people.

  • Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, is caused by insulin resistance. While it usually disappears after childbirth, it raises the chance of both the mother and child having Type 2 diabetes later in life.

What is the Difference Between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes? 

  1. Type 1 Diabetes

    Also known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes is a chronic lifelong disease which is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the body’s own cells. As a result, it destroys the beta cells in the pancreas too. Thus, in type 1 diabetes, the beta cells inside the pancreas either do not make insulin or are unable to produce sufficient insulin.

    • Symptoms

      Gradual weight gain
      Increased thirst and hunger
      Regular urination
      Fatigue
      Blurred vision
      Slow-healing wounds

    • Risk Factors

      Family Connection: People who have a parent or sibling who has type 1 diabetes have a slightly higher risk of developing the condition.

      Genetic Influence: Certain genetic factors increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.

      Geographic Trends: As you travel farther from the equator, the prevalence of type 1 diabetes rises.

      Age Patterns: Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, with two distinct onset peaks in children aged 4 to 7 years and children aged 10 to 14 years.

    • Prevention and Cure: There is currently no recognised way to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, type 1 diabetes patients can manage this disease by taking insulin shots that help in managing blood sugar levels. Also, they must keep a close watch on their blood sugar levels and consult a doctor to know what the target blood sugar levels should be.

  2. Type 2 Diabetes

    Previously referred to as adult-onset diabetes, type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when the body's fat, liver and muscle cells fail to respond appropriately to insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels.

    Although type 2 diabetes is more common in adults, but its prevalence among younger people is increasing. It is often connected to lifestyle decisions such as poor food and insufficient exercise.

    • Symptoms

      Increased thirst
      Increased hunger
      Unintentional weight reduction
      Infections occur regularly.
      Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
      Areas of darker skin, generally in the armpits and neck

    • Risk Factors

      Weight and Risk: Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

      Lazy Lifestyle: Laziness contributes to a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity helps control weight, utilises glucose for energy, and enhances cellular insulin sensitivity.

      Family History and Risk: The risk of type 2 diabetes rises if a parent or sibling has the condition, highlighting the influence of genetic factors.

      Blood Lipid Levels and Risk: Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) and elevated triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

      Age and Risk: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases, particularly after age 35.

    • Prevention and Cure

      Again, there is no established prevention or cure for type 2 diabetes. However, the following tips might help keep it under check:

      Opt for Nutrient-Rich Choices: Choose foods that are low in fat and calories while rich in fibre. Prioritise a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

      Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight: If overweight, strive to shed a modest amount of weight and sustain it. This effort may postpone the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, with a target of losing 7% to 10% of body weight if prediabetic.

      Embrace Physical Activity: Incorporate at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, running, or swimming, into your routine.

      Combat Prolonged Inactivity: To reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, break up long periods of sitting. Stand up and move around for a few minutes, at least every 30 minutes.

    It is critical to understand the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes to manage and avoid it effectively. While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease with no present cure, type 2 diabetes is heavily impacted by lifestyle. Prioritising good eating, physical activity, and weight control can significantly lower diabetes risk and effects, paving the way for global health and well-being.

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


    1. Is type 1 diabetes curable or not?

      Answer:- There is no recognised or feasible cure for Type 1 diabetes.

    2. Which is more serious, type 1 or type 2 diabetes?

      Answer:- Effective management is crucial for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as both conditions can lead to severe complications if not diagnosed or handled correctly. Neither type is superior or inferior to the other, each demands attentive and careful management.

    3. What is the difference in treatment between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

      Answer:-  Individuals with type 1 diabetes typically require a continuous supply of insulin. In contrast, those with type 2 diabetes often start with oral medications for an extended period, but there's a possibility that they may eventually transition to insulin therapy.

    4. Can insulin stop working for type 1 diabetes?

      Answer:- Insulin resistance may arise in individuals with type 1 diabetes, leading to reduced effectiveness of previously adequate insulin doses or necessitating higher doses for optimal management.

    5. Can type 2 diabetes become type 1?

      Answer:- It is practically impossible for type 2 diabetes to become type 1 since both of them have different originating causes.

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