Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that starts from childhood. In simple words, antibodies attack the pancreas due to a weak immune system, thus destroying its ability to produce insulin. As a result, the patient experiences high blood sugar levels, and subsequently type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes usually happens due to faulty genes and can lead to many issues such as diabetic neuropathy (where the nerves get damaged), diabetic retinopathy (where the eyes get damaged), and diabetic nephropathy (damage to the kidneys).
Type 2 diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes. The reason being, that type 2 diabetes mostly develops over time due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes happens when the pancreas is releasing insulin, albeit in insufficient quantity, thus causing insulin resistance. One of the major causes of insulin resistance is obesity. Thus, a change in lifestyle with abstinence from certain foods is one recommendation from the doctors apart from the usual medical routine.
This kind of diabetes is uncommon but not unheard of. It usually happens in the case of pregnant women, as pregnancy is known to cause a mild form of insulin resistance. The same can eventually develop into a form of diabetes known as gestational diabetes. It is extremely important to diagnose this on time and treat it because if unchecked, it can travel through the placenta and hamper the growth and development of the baby. Gestational diabetes poses more risk to the baby than the mother.
The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
By now we know that type 1 diabetes mostly develops when the pancreas is damaged due to autoimmune conditions, whereas type 2 diabetes is an adult condition that develops due to an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity. However, both happen when the pancreas is unable to produce a sufficient level of insulin to supply glucose to the bloodstream.
The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both similar:
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Feeling thirsty at short intervals
- Blurred vision
- Cuts taking a lot of time to heal
- Frequent hunger pangs
- Feeling fatigued or lethargic
- Tickling and a feeling of numbness in feet and hands
While the symptoms are similar, there are other differences between the two types of diabetes. Also, while in type 1 diabetes, there is an immediate appearance of these symptoms, type 2 diabetes witnesses the development of these symptoms over time.
To understand the difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes, one will have to go by the step. Let’s first understand the causal differences between the two.
Causal differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, as mentioned earlier, is an autoimmune disease. In this case, the immune system which is responsible to fight off and attack foreign invaders starts attacking the body’s healthy cells instead. This can lead to an attack on pancreatic cells which are responsible for the generation of insulin, which directs glucose to the bloodstream for energy generation. As a result, blood sugar accumulates to higher levels.
Type 1 diabetes mostly happens in children and young adults and may happen either due to childhood infections or even faulty genes.
Type 1 and type 2 differences differ due to the risk factors and causes involved. To sum up, here are the things that can induce type 1 diabetes:
- Genetic conditions due to which insulin production is affected
- Family history of diabetes
- Infections such as mumps or rubella
- Medical conditions like hemochromatosis or cystic fibrosis
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes happens over time, when the body stops producing insulin. As a result, there is no effective directing of glucose to the bloodstream. Thus, it leads to a build-up of sugar in the blood, which is a condition termed as insulin resistance.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes happens over time. Also, another major difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is that the latter is a comparatively less serious form of diabetes and is manageable with easy changes in lifestyle.
Some of the risk factors which lead to type 2 diabetes are:
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Smoking and drinking habits
- No exercise
- Unhealthy diet
These two types of diabetes also differ in the groups that are affected by them. Type 1 is more common genetically and thus happens in kids and young adults, while type 2 is more prone to people over the age of 40. However, these are mere generic results and are slowly becoming redundant due to the changes in external and internal factors. Nowadays, even the younger lot is at the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
With regards to symptoms, type 1 diabetes may occur more quickly, whereas the symptoms of type 2 diabetes may appear more slowly and hence can be easily missed.
Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes: the complications and treatments
There is another difference between the two types of diabetes, and this one is related to the results thereof if any of the two types of diabetes is left undiagnosed.
Diabetes highly increases the chances of contracting heart diseases due to hypertension and high blood pressure. A possibility of a stroke persists. Not only this, other risks such as loss of vision, kidney failure, and nerve damage are also some of the possible complications of both types of diabetes.
A major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes lies in the form of a possibility of prevention. Type 1 diabetes happens due to genetics and autoimmune conditions. Hence, it is not possible to prevent it. It can only be managed over a lifetime. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes can be prevented at the prediabetes stage by improving lifestyle and taking the recommended medication, which can take the blood sugar levels down.
Read More : FBS Test (Fasting Blood Sugar): Why and How is it Done?
The treatment for the two differs as well. While type 1 diabetes patients have to take insulin injections for their entire life, type 2, which is preventable, is usually managed by changes in lifestyle, exercises, and abstinence from certain activities or food. Medicines may be prescribed to keep the blood sugar levels within the normal range and thus manage type 2 diabetes. Insulin injections are only prescribed in certain cases, depending on the stage and severity of the condition.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar symptomatically, yet they differ in diagnosis and treatment. It is important to know the difference.
Did we miss anything? Do let us know in the comments below.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.