Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease. This disease affects many people, with millions of new diagnoses every year just in the U.S. alone. There are two main types of Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Most people don’t understand the differences in the two different types, which often leads to confusion and stereotypical assumptions. Although Type 1 and Type 2 are both forms of Diabetes, they have very few similarities.

Diabetes types essay

            Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are both illnesses that affect the way your body regulates glucose. Glucose is what is used to fuel your body’s cells, but the only way that glucose can enter your cells is with a hormone called insulin. Type 1 Diabetes is caused when your immune system mistakes your insulin-producing cells as harmful, foreign cells. Your immune system attacks those cells. Once those cells are destroyed, they can’t grow back, leaving the body unable to produce insulin. Type 2 is caused primarily by being overweight and inactive. Your body becomes resistant to the insulin that it is producing. So, even though your body is still producing insulin, it is unable to effectively use it. An easy way to look at this difference is to think of insulin as the key needed to unlock the cell for the glucose to enter. Type 1 Diabetics don’t have a key, Type 2 Diabetics have a broken key. Testing for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes is done by performing an A1C test, which looks at your blood sugar levels over a course of a few months. This test is done by either drawing blood or getting a finger pricked. The A1C of a normal person is below 5.7, those with prediabetes usually measure around 5.7-6.4, and anything over that is considered Diabetes, regardless of what type.

            The symptoms for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are similar. Commonly, both will experience frequent urination, extreme thirst, hunger, and fatigue. In more severe cases, some will experience dramatic mood swings and even numbness in their hands and feet. Type 1 Diabetics will develop symptoms very rapidly, and those symptoms are usually harsh. Type 2 Diabetics will slowly develop symptoms, sometimes showing no symptoms for years. In strange cases, Type 2 Diabetics may not show any symptoms at all, causing them to be unaware of the disease until complications occur. The risks for developing the two forms of the disease, however, are different. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed at a young age, which is why it is commonly referred to as “Juvenile” Diabetes. This makes young age a dominant risk for Type 1, along with family history, geography, and genetics. Type 2 Diabetes is found more in adulthood, the risk increases for those who are 45 or older. Other risks for Type 2 are elevated blood sugar levels, excessive weight (especially in the stomach region), having an inactive lifestyle, and even giving birth to a child more than 9lbs.

            Type 1 Diabetes can not be prevented or cured. Frequent blood sugar testing is mandatory for Type 1, because levels can drop and rise so quickly. This is done most commonly by pricking your finger. Since Type 1 Diabetics can’t produce insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels on their own, they have to regularly inject it into their bodies. This is done in two different ways, either with shots or insulin pumps. Shots have to be administered into the soft tissue multiple times throughout the day, usually whenever the person eats. Insulin pumps have a little tube that is inserted into the soft tissue and stays there for 3-5 days. It holds a pod full of insulin that supplies a steady amount of the medicine throughout the day. Type 2 Diabetes can sometimes be prevented. Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and enough activity, can lower the risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Those who are diagnosed can manage their disease with diet, exercise, and occasionally prescribed medications. In some cases, being consistent with your diet and exercise, along with taking your medicine as suggested, can even reverse the diagnosis. Type 2, like Type 1, also requires frequent blood sugar testing. For Type 2, blood sugar testing is important to make sure you are reaching your target levels and to make sure you are maintaining a healthy range.

            Diabetes is a serious condition. Although It is not currently possible for a person to prevent Type 1, insulin and other drugs can help people to manage their symptoms and ultimately live a normal life. While they both can be caused by genetics, people can reduce the risk and manage the progress of Type 2 Diabetes dramatically by following a healthful lifestyle with regular exercise. Anyone with a diagnosis of prediabetes should also make healthful lifestyle choices, this way they can reduce or eliminate the risk of Type 2 Diabetes developing.

izzah ahmed

This is Izzah, a content writer and editor who creates SEO-friendly content and has experience in academic writing. Backed by 10 years of experience in writing and editing, she is equipped with the skill to create content that is backed by thorough research and has impeccable structure.

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