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Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with diabetes recently? Are you wondering about the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Over 37 million people have diabetes in the US alone, and 38% of adults are prediabetic. Diabetes can lead to complications like kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke, so it’s important to be able to distinguish between the two.
Keep reading this guide to learn the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and how they can impact your life.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body can regulate blood sugar or glucose. Insulin moves the glucose from the blood into the cells, where it’s stored and eventually used for energy.
When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin effectively or can’t produce enough in the first place. Over time, untreated high blood sugar can damage your vision, organs, and nerves.
There are two main types of diabetes which include:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, usually develops during childhood but can occur in adults. With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces little to no insulin.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop suddenly and include:
- Unintended weight loss
- Bedwetting in children and frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Weakness and fatigue
- Increased hunger
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes isn’t known, but possible causes include genetics, environmental factors, and the body’s immune system attacking the pancreas.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin-resistant diabetes. It’s usually diagnosed in adults but can affect teens due to childhood obesity.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin correctly. Your pancreas then produces more insulin to get your body to respond, but eventually, it’s unable to keep up. As a result, you’ll develop chronically high blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop slowly over time and are easy to dismiss initially. Symptoms include:
- Decreased energy
- Blurry vision
- Constant hunger
- Extreme thirst
- Numbness and tingling in your feet or hands
The leading causes of type 2 diabetes include obesity and lack of exercise. Also, if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing it.
Living with diabetes isn’t easy, and there is no cure, but there are treatments available that can help you lead a normal life.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes requires insulin injections or an insulin pump. You’ll also need to check your blood sugar at least four times a day and count carbohydrates.
Treatment for type 2 diabetes mainly involves lifestyle changes. Losing weight and exercising daily can make a huge difference in your blood sugar levels. You’ll also need to monitor your blood sugar daily and may be required to take diabetes medications or insulin.
You should also check your feet daily for swelling, cuts, or sores. Wash your feet in warm water each day and use a moisturizing lotion. It’s also a good idea to shop for slippers for diabetics to keep your feet protected.
Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Now that you know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you’ll be better able to manage this disease and take charge of your life.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about speaking with a diabetes educator to help you with a meal and exercise plan.
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