The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes comes down to how the body produces insulin. Insulin is a hormone essential to the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream into the body. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce sufficient levels of insulin from childhood. They remain insulin deficient most of their lives and require insulin to be given life- long unless a pancreas or pancreatic beta cells can be transplanted to provide sufficient insulin to manage their metabolic needs.

Those with type 2 diabetes do not process insulin properly. As noted whereas Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults, Type 2 diabetes is more commonly seen in adults and occurs because of a combination of insulin insufficiency and also abnormal glucose utilization at the end organ or cellular level where insulin enters the cell to do its job. In this form of the disease, blood sugar levels rise higher than normal because the insulin that is being produced is not processed properly by the body, then soon afterward insulin levels plummet and insulin insufficiency is added to the abnormal processing of glucose metabolism at the cellular level.

Risk Factors of Diabetes

The risk factors for type 1 diabetes often involve genetics. In the case of type 2 diabetes, there are a variety of risk factors commonly associated with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. An individual’s behavior can have a significant effect on the risks involved in developing the disease such as weight and physical activity. Fatty tissue is more resistant to insulin, so excess fat can cause the body to produce more insulin than normal. Regular exercise can help burn glucose efficiently, keeping blood sugar levels balanced. Family history, race and age are all potential factors concerning the development and diagnosis of diabetes but diet and exercise are the key factors that can prolong or inhibit the signs and symptoms from causing actual diabetes mellitus and can for a time engage in what has been called prediabetes or early diabetes wherein no medications are necessary if good habits of diet and exercise can be used appropriately.

Managing Your Form of Diabetes

The practitioners at Greater Boston Medical Associates will work with you to design a treatment plan that directly relates to your form of diabetes. This will include first behavioral adjustment to manage the disease. Your diet and exercise habits may need to be adjusted to reduce sugar intake and increase activity levels. Your practitioner may prescribe medicine and regular glucose checks. Eating a healthy and balanced diet, and exercising for at least 30 minutes, will help you burn excess fat and process insulin more effectively. If your physician advises regular glucose level checks, you will need to learn how to administer the checks at home. It is also very important that you attend all of your appointments with your physician and any recommended specialists to monitor your disease and overall health.

It is also important to recognize that cardiovascular disease is closely associated with diabetes and the so called metabolic syndrome consisting of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, hyperlipidemia, can cause the early presence of heart disease or stroke and is associated with shortened life span.