Often lumped together as one, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are diseases with different causes and some different treatments. Here’s a rundown of the differences and similarities between the two.
Type 1 diabetes used to be referred to as juvenile diabetes because it often presented in younger patients. However, with the increase of adult diagnoses, and diagnoses in children of type 2 diabetes, this label is not as widely used.
As an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes is caused when a person’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, causing lower amounts of the hormone to be produced. Insulin helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy by carrying them into cells from the blood stream.
There is still so much that is not known about the contributing factors of type 1 diabetes, but genetics plays a big part.
Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult-onset, but with rising prevalence among younger patients, that is changing. Unlike type 1 diabetes, this type of diabetes doesn’t result from an immune response in the body. In those with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body doesn’t use it properly, resulting in higher levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
Contributing factors to type 2 diabetes include family history, and lifestyle and demographic factors like age and race. Type 2 diabetes is often preventable with healthy eating habits and exercising regimens.
Both types of diabetes are chronic conditions for which there is no cure. However, advances in research have greatly improved the treatment and care to help manage the diseases.
Need a quick reference for diabetes basics? Check out our infographic that details the similarities and differences between type 1 and type 2.