If you have heard people talk about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you may have wondered on occasion what the actual difference was between the two types. They are actually quite similar and related problems, but they are somewhat different in the way that they present themselves within individuals.

Type 1 diabetes involves a complete lack of insulin, and type 2 diabetes is more known for too small an amount of insulin, or an inability to utilize insulin in an effective manner.

Type 1

Type 1 diabetes was once called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes, and it is the more rare form of the two. Between 5 and 10 percent of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes involves the immune system’s destruction of the cells in the body that release insulin. This leads to an eradication of insulin production. Cells are unable to absorb glucose (sugar) without insulin, and this affects the individual because glucose is needed for energy.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes was once called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and it potentially takes form at any age, though it most commonly appears when an individual is an adult. The vast majority of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes; this is about 90 t 95 percent of diabetics. With this type, the body is unable to utilize insulin correctly, which is referred to as insulin resistance. As the condition gets more severe, the pancreas can synthesize lower and lower amounts of the chemical, which is referred to as insulin deficiency.

Diabetes Symptoms

In the case of type 1 diabetes, it is typical for symptoms to begin in either childhood or young adulthood. People actually become very sick due to high blood sugar symptoms with a very sudden onset, and they often end up seeking medical help. With type 2 diabetes, it is common for people not to have symptoms at all before the diagnosis. This condition is usually discovered once a person is an adult, although there are more and more children who are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

With cases of type 1 diabetes, hypoglycemia, or episodes of low blood sugar levels, happen quite frequently. This does not happen with type 2 diabetes unless the individual happens to be taking certain diabetes medications or insulin. Additionally, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, while type 2 diabetes is possible to prevent or at least delay if a person lives a healthy lifestyle. This entails eating a sensible diet, exercising on a regular basis, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Though the two are different, they have a few things in common as well. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes significantly raise an individual’s risk for all sorts of serious complications. In both cases, complications can be prevented with careful monitoring and management of the disease; however, diabetes is still the leading cause of kidney failure and blindness. Diabetes of both types is also a major risk factor for amputations of the feet or legs, stroke, and heart disease.

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes What's the Difference