What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?

Published February 21, 2012

| NewsCore

Diabetes is a serious and lifelong condition, typically associated with abnormally high levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood. ��Although there are numerous similarities between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, it���s important to note that they are two very distinct conditions, each with its own symptoms and treatments. By understanding these differences and learning the correct treatment strategies for your specific condition, you should be able to manage it more effectively. Here are the main differences between the two most common forms of diabetes.

Causes
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a chronic illness in which the pancreas is unable to produce insulin ��� a hormone that enables cells to absorb sugar and convert it into energy. Although it can occur at any age, type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in younger people. The disease can be caused by a range of factors, including genetics and contact with certain viruses.

Similar to type 1, type 2 diabetes is related to the body���s inability to use insulin effectively. Individuals with type 2 diabetes can produce insulin, but it is either resisted by the body or produced at insufficient levels. This is, by far, the most common form of the disease, accounting for roughly 95 percent of all diabetes cases, according to the American Diabetes Association. Although the exact cause is unknown, excess weight and poor diet are thought to contribute to its development.

Symptoms
While both types of diabetes exhibit similar symptoms, there are a few small, noticeable differences. Like those with type 1 diabetes, type 2 sufferers may experience increased thirst, hunger and frequent urination, as well as weight loss, fatigue and blurred vision. However, while these symptoms often develop very quickly with type 1 diabetes, many individuals can live with type 2 diabetes for years before it is diagnosed. Sufferers of type 2 diabetes may also notice telltale dark patches on the skin around the folds of the body, such as the armpits. If you suspect that you may have diabetes, ask your doctor about getting a blood test.

Treatment
Unfortunately, both types of diabetes are chronic, lifelong conditions. However, by closely monitoring and managing your blood sugar levels, you can keep the effects of diabetes to a minimum. Since type 1 sufferers are unable to produce insulin properly, they require regular insulin therapy. Insulin levels are generally managed using a combination of rapid-acting and long-acting insulin, in conjunction with intermediate treatments.

Managing type 2 diabetes can be less demanding, though it still requires plenty of discipline and determination. Monitoring your glucose levels regularly is essential to preventing dangerous fluctuations. You should be vigilant about eating a healthy diet and trying to exercise regularly. Over time, you should begin to learn how your body responds to specific foods and activities, which will enable you to treat your glucose levels accordingly.

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