The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

I think that most everybody today knows that there is more than one kind of diabetes mellitus, but I am not sure that everyone knows what that difference is. I have had type 2 diabetes for many many years, but for a long time I didn't quite understand the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I hope in this article that I can at least give you a little bit better understanding of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes or often called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) for short is caused by the cells of the pancreas not secreting insulin. It could be that the cells were damaged by a disease of the autoimmune system or by a viral infection so that they no longer function as they should. It also has been show that heredity can play a part in the development of type 1 diabetes.

If you have a family member that has type 1 diabetes then you have a 1 in 20 chance of developing the disease. The ratio for the general public is about 1 in 250. So you can see that there is a big difference between the general public and a person that has diabetes in the family.

Type 1 diabetes will usually manifest itself by the twentieth birthday and usually starts around the age of 14. It usually develops in three steps.

First there is an increase in blood glucose.
Second there is an increase in fats used for energy and also the formation of cholesterol by the liver
Third the body begins to use up its stored protein

You will be able to notice this by the sudden loss of body mass even though you are eating large quantities of food. You will generally not feel good and seem tired all the time. However, if your condition is diagnosed early and you can control your diet and take your insulin shots as prescribed, there is no reason that you can't live a relatively normal live.

I had a friend back in my home town that had type 1 diabetes and that was 35 years ago. While I haven't seen him in years, the last time I heard from him, he was still living a fairly normal live and I am sure that if anything had changed I would have heard about it.

Type 2 Diabetes

How Do You Get Type 2 Diabetes?

What are type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes or often know as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or (NIDDM) for short is caused by the cells of the body not allowing insult to be metabolized normally. This resistance of the cells to metabolize the insulin properly is often called insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes usually doesn't show up until around forty and most cases are diagnosed between fifty and sixty years of age. I was first told I had diabetes when I was 38 years old. Also type 2 unlike type 1 develops slowly and may go unnoticed for a long time. Type 2 is much more common than type 1 and makes up between 80 and 90 percent of all the cases of known diabetes.

Another contributing factor in type 2 diabetes is obesity. It is a well established fact that type 2 diabetes is a diet disease. If you control your weight you will be on the road to controlling your diabetes. While it is not known exactly how obesity adds to insulin resistance in the cells, some studies have suggested that there may be less insulin receptors in the muscle and liver of obese folks than there are in lean people.

What is the Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes?

Usually type 2 diabetes can be very effectively controlled with diet and exercise if started soon enough. In my case I was able to control my blood sugar levels for many years by just eating right. But, some times it may be necessary to use drugs to help increase insulin sensitivity in the cells or to help with the release of more insulin by the pancreas.

That is what happened in my case. Because I like candy and cake and ice cream it finely got to the point that I was not controlling my diabetes as well as it needed to be controlled and I had to go on drugs. Again I controlled my glucose levels with drugs for many years, but it finally got to the point that the drugs where no longer controlling the levels as they should and so I had to go to insulin injections. I really hated the thought of having to take shots every day, but I found out that the shots were not that bad. In fact, it actually is more painful pricking you finger to test your blood sugar that it is to take the shot.

I did find one aspect of insulin therapy that always bothered me. When I would eat a little too much or to much of the wrong kind of food, my blood sugar would rise and I would need to take a little more insulin. But insulin always made me hungry and I would eat too much which meant I needed more insulin and if I didn't really watch it, it could become a vicious cycle. I don't know if everyone is affected this way, but it was one thing that I always had trouble controlling.

Another problem that can arise with insulin and I suppose drugs too, even though I don't recall ever encountering it with drugs. That is taking too much insulin and causing your blood sugar to drop too low. That will really cause you to feel bad and if really low you can start to shake uncontrollably and may break out in a cold sweat. If you don't get something sweet real fast you can pass out and go into a coma. You should always have some glucose tables or candy on your person. Your partner should also know what to do in these situations as you may not be able to tell anyone what problem you are experiencing.

No matter what difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, they are both very serious diseases and must be treated as such. If your blood sugar levels are not tightly controlled, you could go into a diabetic coma and if not treated immediately lead to death.

This article is not meant to be taken as medical advise. You should always consult your physician for medical advise. I am just revealing things that I have learned from experience or from research over the years that I have lived with type 2 diabetes. Your case maybe entirely different and therefore you should just take this article on the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes for what it was meant, just some more information.