How Are Diabetes Type 1 and 2 Different?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 10/31/2016

stop-diabetes.pngType 1 and Type 2 diabetes are similar in that the body's inability to control blood sugar causes symptoms and often serious complications. They also share the same problem of high levels of blood sugar. But they're two different diseases in many ways.

For starters, the statistics for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are drastically different. While over 25 million people have diabetes in the United States, just five percent are affected by Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, meanwhile, affects up to 95 percent of all diabetes sufferers.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, most often develops in young people although it can also develop in adults. Generally speaking, people with Type 1 diabetes have a total lack of insulin because the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells. Without insulin, cells cannot absorb the sugar (glucose) that's needed to produce energy.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes usually start in childhood or young adulthood. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but there are a variety of treatment options to control its symptoms, including:

Insulin shots

Oral medication

Controlling your blood pressure levels

Healthy diet

Controlling your cholesterol levels

Being physically active

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age but its symptoms most commonly occur in adulthood. It usually begins with insulin resistance in which your body doesn't transfer sufficient glucose into the body's other cells. While the pancreas, at first, makes more insulin to keep up with the demand, it eventually is unable to when blood sugar levels increase, including after meals.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle that includes:

A healthy diet

Being physically active

Controlling blood pressure levels

Controlling cholesterol levels

Using diabetes medicines

An increasing number of children in the U.S. are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Who Should Be A Part Of A Diabetic Health Care Team?

A team of health care providers will be involved with your diabetes care, including primary providers such as internists, family physicians, and pediatricians. But your team should also include:

A dietitian, certified diabetes educator, or nurse

An endocrinologist for more specialized care

A mental health professional or counselor

A pharmacist, dentist, and podiatrist

An ophthalmologist or optometrist for eye care

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and can cause drastic vision changes. The professionals at Broome Optical of Amarillo recommend frequent monitoring of all diabetic patients. Call our office to schedule a comprehensive diabetic vision exam today to learn more about your eye health.

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