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The Main Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

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The Main Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

While Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes share a similar name, they are, in fact, different diseases with different causes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that comes on suddenly, usually during childhood, while Type 2 diabetes develops over time and is mainly caused by modifiable factors like obesity, poor diet, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Not only do these conditions differ in cause, but they also have their own unique bodily effects, symptoms, risk factors, and management techniques. 

Given that diabetes subtypes are so distinct, our team of diabetes management specialists at Superior Health and Wellness in Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina, wants to help you understand how these two conditions differ across a range of categories. 

Differences in bodily effects

Both forms of diabetes affect your body’s ability to both store and use sugar (glucose), a substance that’s essential for energy levels. However, how this comes about is very different between the two subtypes. 

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body’s immune system starts to attack the cells that make insulin in your pancreas, eliminating the production of insulin altogether. When your body is no longer able to make insulin, glucose builds up in your blood cells and can’t reach its intended destination — your energy-expending body cells or fat-storing adipose cells. 

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, happens when your body becomes resistant to insulin. Even though your body is still producing insulin, your body isn’t able to use it normally. 

Differences in symptoms

Both types of diabetes can lead to serious complications if left unmanaged, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, vision loss, neurological disease, and blood vessel damage. But when it comes to day-to-day diabetes symptoms, there’s a difference between the types.

Type 1 diabetes comes on suddenly and can immediately leave you with increased hunger and thirst, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss, extreme fatigue, and numbness in your hands and feet. 

Even though you may also experience these same symptoms with Type 2 diabetes, you can have the condition for years before you slowly start to notice the onset of these symptoms. 

Differences in risk factors

The risk factors for the two types of diabetes are very different, and the things that put you at risk for Type 1 diabetes are much less clear than those that increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

So far, the only known risk factors for Type 1 diabetes are genetics and age. You’re much more likely to develop this autoimmune disease if you’ve had a close family member with the condition, and it usually appears in childhood or adolescence. 

Type 2 diabetes, however, has many known risk factors. Circumstances that can elevate your chances of developing this chronic condition include being overweight, having polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), carrying a lot of belly fat, exercising fewer than three times a week, and being over the age of 45.

Differences in management

There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes. Since your body can’t produce any insulin, you need to provide it for your body through insulin injections and other medications. Other things you may need to do to keep your body healthy include monitoring your blood sugar levels, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, and staying on top of all wounds and infections to reduce complications.

Type 2 diabetes can be both prevented and treated with lifestyle changes such as eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. In some cases, you may need to take medications that help your body use your produced insulin more effectively.

Your diabetes care experts

At Superior Health and Wellness, our team also offers physiologic insulin resensitization (PIR) for management of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. 

By using insulin as a hormone rather than a drug, this innovative treatment approach helps reduce insulin resistance, restore healthy blood sugar levels, and diminish the risk of diabetes-related complications such as neuropathy, blurred vision, and limb amputation. 

Ready to learn more about effective diabetes management? Superior Health and Wellness is here to help. Give us a call today, or click online to set up an appointment at your nearest office in Greenville or Spartanburg, South Carolina, any time.