The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: A Complete Guide


Are you aware that there are two different types of diabetes? While many signs and symptoms are the same, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are still different conditions with different needs and causes.

But what is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes anyway? Why does it matter?

We’re here to talk about it. Keep reading to learn all about type 2 and type 1 diabetes.

Risk Factors

If you don’t know much about diabetes, you might be worried about whether or not you can catch it. You may have been experiencing some common symptoms of diabetes and you’re curious as to whether or not it’s a possibility.

If you don’t have some risk factors for either type of diabetes, you’re likely in the clear. Here are a few risk factors that are different between the two types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are all pre-birth. There’s nothing that someone can do to prevent themself from getting type 1 diabetes.

Many people think that type 1 diabetes is strictly genetic. If there’s a family history of diabetes, it’s more likely for a new baby to be born with the condition. If both parents have type 1 diabetes, the chances for the child to have diabetes are substantially higher.

It’s possible that certain factors during pregnancy can also cause type 1 diabetes. If the pregnant parent contracts certain viruses or has a higher maternal weight, the child may be more likely to have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

The risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes are far different than those associated with type 1. Type 2 diabetes is usually preventable and it’s more common in adults (though childhood obesity can potentially lead to type 2 diabetes.

People who are over the age of 45 are at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes. This isn’t true for people who live healthy and active lifestyles.

if someone carries a lot of excess belly fat, even if they’re otherwise a “normal” weight, they may have a greater risk of type 2 diabetes. The risk is increased if the person is overweight or obese and if they live a sedentary lifestyle.

Some people become more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. Most often, this includes people who were pregnant. If a baby was over 9 pounds or the parent contracted gestational diabetes, they may have a greater chance of type 2 diabetes.

People with PCOS may also have a higher chance of type 2 diabetes.

Treatment and Management

When it comes to treatment and management, there are a few differences between the two types of diabetes. While both have to do with insulin, doctors may also have different recommendations depending on the patient and the type.

Here are a few ways in which treatment is different between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

There is no way to reverse or cure type 1 diabetes. People who don’t produce insulin will need injectable insulin for their entire lives.

There are several ways to inject insulin. Most people choose to do daily injections with syringes. Others prefer an insulin pump that stays attached to their bodies.

People with type 1 diabetes always have to monitor their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels fluctuate a lot, and if the levels drop too low, it can cause diabetic shock.

Even people who live healthy lifestyles with type 1 diabetes will still need insulin. Diabetic people need to eat healthy diets without too much sugar, but they should keep sugary snacks on hand in the event of a blood sugar crash.

Type 2 Diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are in luck. Type 2 diabetes is far easier to manage than type 1 and it may even be reversible.

As with type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes have to test their blood sugar, though not as often. They also need to take medication to boost insulin resistance (though they may or may not need to inject insulin).

Sometimes, in milder cases of type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes are enough to control the condition. Doctors may recommend diet changes, exercise, and other healthy suggestions to keep type 2 diabetes in check.

Check out this article by Prescription Point for more ways to manage type 2 diabetes.

How Common Are They?

Based on this information, you might be wondering about the prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. You may hear a lot about diabetes on television or see a lot of medication advertisements online.

Type one and type 2 diabetes aren’t the same when it comes to how common they are.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes isn’t as prevalent as type 2 diabetes, partially because it’s genetic. Studies report that 1.6 million Americans have type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes isn’t always diagnosed early, so there are people who don’t yet have a diabetes diagnosis at this time (meaning the number is higher). That said, type 1 diabetes tends to become obvious when a child is 5 or younger.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1, and more and more people are developing it as the years go on.

Because obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, the obesity epidemic spanning the world is causing more people to develop it.

Type 2 diabetes can happen to anyone, but it’s most common amongst native Americans, Alaskan natives, and Mexican Americans. People of any gender can develop type 2 diabetes.

That’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Risk factors are the largest difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but they also have different treatment styles and different prevalences. These conditions are similar (after all, they both relate to insulin production), but they’re different enough to be in 2 separate categories.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one might have diabetes, seek a doctor today for testing.

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