What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction, where the body’s defense system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body can no longer produce the insulin it needs. Why this occurs is not fully understood. The disease can affect people of any age, but usually occurs in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood. Without insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes will die.
People with type 1 diabetes can lead a normal, healthy life through a combination of daily insulin therapy, close monitoring, a healthy diet, and regular physical exercise. The number of people who develop type 1 diabetes is increasing. The reasons for this are still unclear but may be due to changes in environmental risk factors, early events in the womb, diet early in life, or viral infections.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It usually occurs in adults, but is increasingly seen in children and adolescents. In type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce insulin but either this is not sufficient or the body is unable to respond to its effects (also known as insulin resistance), leading to a build-up of glucose in the blood.
Many people with type 2 diabetes remain unaware of their illness for a long time because symptoms may take years to appear or be recognized, during which time the body is being damaged by excess blood glucose. They are often diagnosed only when complications of diabetes have already developed.
In contrast to people with type 1 diabetes, the majority of those with type 2 diabetes usually do not require daily doses of insulin to survive. Many people are able to manage their condition through a healthy diet and increased physical activity or oral medication. However, if they are unable to regulate their blood glucose levels, they may be prescribed insulin. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly worldwide. This rise is associated with economic development, ageing populations, increasing urbanization, dietary changes, reduced physical activity, and changes in other lifestyle patterns