There are several forms of diabetes, but far and away, the two most talked about are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both these forms of diabetes are chronic conditions that alter the way your body regulates glucose, which is required for cell function. But they are otherwise quite different.
This article will help you understand the major differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how the conditions are treated.
Understanding Type 1 Diabetes
People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin whatsoever. Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks and damages the pancreas.
This form of diabetes often begins in childhood, and you may have heard it referred to as juvenile-onset diabetes. While the cause of type 1 diabetes is not fully known, risk factors include family history and genetics. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes always involves insulin, which must be administered by injection. Patients and their doctors can decide on the best way to inject insulin: by syringe, pre-filled pen, jet injector or insulin pump.
Type 1 diabetes does increase your risk of damage to your eyes, nerves and kidneys. There is also, unfortunately, an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
People with type 1 diabetes must choose their meals wisely, stay active and properly manage their blood sugar if they want to live happy, healthy lives.
Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting almost 10% of Americans. Unlike type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes still produce insulin–but their bodies have become insulin resistant.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes major lifestyle management, including weight loss, healthy eating and working out regularly. If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor will carefully monitor your blood sugar and may prescribe you medication or insulin therapy.
There is also research that supports the use of klotho proteins to lower blood sugar, although such treatment is not yet available.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight and inactive, although genetics and environmental factors play a role, too. If you store extra weight around your stomach, you are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who carry extra weight in their hips and thighs.
While the risk of developing type 2 diabetes goes up with age, its prevalence is also increasing dramatically in children, teenagers and young adults. In women, conditions like gestational diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can also increase the risk of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can cause a host of complications, including heart disease, damage to nerves, eyes and kidneys, skin conditions, slow healing and Alzheimer’s disease.
Since there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, prevention is key, especially if your doctor has mentioned you have prediabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to lower your blood sugar and get healthier today.