The Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Over 10% of the United States’ population has diabetes, and 1 in 4 of those adults don’t even know they have it. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to learn the differences between them so you can know how to manage your condition and maintain your overall health and wellness.

At Sure Medical Care in Elmhurst, New York, our team of providers can help. We offer diabetes management professional care and have the expertise to diagnose, treat, and monitor your condition.

Type 1 diabetes explained

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that can develop at any age. It was formerly called juvenile diabetes because it usually occurs before age 30, typically in childhood. 

When you have Type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin, which is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in your body. This can ultimately cause permanent damage, leaving your pancreas incapable of producing insulin.

The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes isn’t known, but if it’s in your family history, you could be susceptible to developing it. Other risk factors include environmental triggers, geography, and ethnicity.

Type 2 diabetes explained

Around 90–95% of American adults have Type 2 diabetes. This type can be difficult to detect, because symptoms aren’t always noticeable until the later stages. With Type 2 diabetes, your body develops insulin resistance. Your cells don’t respond to insulin as they should, so your blood sugar levels aren’t controlled adequately.

Type 2 diabetes slowly develops over many years and is more common in adults over age 40, although it’s becoming increasingly common in children and younger adults as well. Research hasn’t been able to pinpoint the reasons why Type 2 diabetes develops, but lifestyle factors are thought to play a key role, particularly when you carry excess weight around your abdomen, have a poor diet that includes sugary and processed foods, and lack routine exercise.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are alike — and different

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes share similar symptoms due to the effects of high blood sugar levels, such as:

Among the differences, Type 1 diabetes often causes significant weight loss as your body tries to use glucose from your stored fat since it can’t produce the insulin that makes use of the sugar in your bloodstream. Sudden changes to your blood sugar levels can also cause mood changes and irritability.

With Type 2 diabetes, you might notice symptoms like numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, but signs don’t typically develop until you’ve had the condition for some time.

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can be treated

Type 1 diabetes is known as insulin-dependent diabetes because you’re required to take insulin to replace what your pancreas no longer produces. At Sure Medical Care, we teach you how to frequently monitor your blood sugar levels and administer shots of long-acting insulin at set times. The most common way to treat Type 1 diabetes is with rapid-acting insulin before meals.

Type 2 diabetes is more commonly treated with lifestyle changes and medication to regulate your blood sugar levels. Our team can provide you with a weight loss management plan and other lifestyle changes that include increasing your activity level and reducing your alcohol intake. These actions can help you maintain a healthy body weight and manage your symptoms.

If you’re concerned that you might have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or may be at risk for developing diabetes, call our office in Elmhurst, New York, at 718-760-0797 or request your appointment online today. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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