What Are Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

Published September 18, 2017

type 1 diabetes

Yuval Noah Harari, writer of Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, points out that the number of people who have died due to diabetes is more than double the number of people who have died as a result of human violence. He concludes that sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.’ The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention think this will become increasingly true over time. They predict that 1 in 3 American adults could have diabetes by 2050 with Diabetes.org.uk claiming that it is the fastest growing health threat of our times.’

So many frightening statements in the media and diabetes cure news can be a little overwhelming. It’s really important to get the facts right and that’s where we can help. This article outlines the main differences between type 1 & 2 diabetes.

Type 1

Symptoms

Common symptoms include: feeling tired and thirsty during the day; rapid loss of weight and muscle; and needing to urinate more frequently (especially during the night). For young people, these symptoms appear within a few weeks or even days, but for adults it may take a few months to develop.

Causes

The pancreas no longer produces insulin. Insulin’s job is to convert and remove excess glucose from the blood. When glucose doesn’t get converted into energy, your body is starved of energy, you feel tired, and your body tries to flush out the excess levels through your urine.

Why does the pancreas stop producing insulin? Well, because type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, the healthy pancreas cells are attacked by the immune system by mistake.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by lifestyle choices – some of the healthiest people in the world could still develop it. Doctors believe it’s genetic. In fact, if you have a close relative with type 1 diabetes, you have a 6% chance of getting it yourself.

Treatment

Because diabetes cannot be cured, insulin injections are required to keep blood sugar levels stable and healthy. This requires a personalised treatment plan and careful monitoring.

Lifestyle choices may also need to be altered to keep blood sugar levels in check. This includes regular exercise and reducing both alcohol and sugar intake.

Type 2

Symptoms

The symptoms are exactly the same as type 1. The main difference is that they get worse gradually over time and are therefore harder to detect. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without knowing it which causes further complications. It’s therefore important to assess the symptoms early with a doctor.

Causes

This is the one that health experts are worried about. A combination of age and obesity seems to affect the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin. As obesity increases and the population ages, so does type 2 diabetes. A body mass index (BMI) of 25+ means you are overweight’ with 30+ putting you in the obese’ category. Why not use this BMI calculator to check whether you are at risk?

Treatment

Normally type 2 diabetes can be treated through improved lifestyle choices. Losing weight (especially around the belly), a healthy diet and exercising are all very important. More severe cases may require tablets or injections to control blood sugar levels.

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