Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in the world. According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, 8.5% of people over 18 years of age had Diabetes Mellitus in 2014. Now it may be even more than that as the trend is upward.
Did you know there are two main types of diabetes called Type 1 and Type 2? And, the differences between those main types?
Before exploring the main differences between these types, let us revisit some background about the disease.
In a medical point of view, Diabetes is a chronic disease which occurs due to insulin resistance or insulin deficiency. There is no cure for this disease but Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus can be preventable by lifestyle modifications.
When we consider the normal human body sugar is the primary fuel for our body cells which we pump-in through digesting foods that we eat. Sugar molecules in the body (known as “glucose”) circulate via blood flow and supply nutrition to cells to produce energy. If blood sugar levels are increased beyond healthy range, we call it “hyperglycaemia” and if decreased than healthy level, we call it “hypoglycaemia“.
It is a miracle how the sugar controlling mechanism preciously functions to keep blood glucose levels well in balanced.
The key to this mechanism is the hormone called Insulin, which is produced by Beta cells of the pancreas.
Diabetes can occur due to: no production of insulin, resistance to insulin or imbalance of insulin level.
What are the differences between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes Mellitus
There are various causes to develop Diabetes Mellitus but they differ according to the type of diabetes. Most of the time Type 1 Diabetes diagnosed in childhood and younger age, but Type 2 occurs in adults who are over 40 years. But in this modern society, the trend is the people get Type 2 Diabetes even at young ages due to “modern” lifestyles.
Causes for diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Body’s immune system helps us to fight with foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria and to keep our selves healthy. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system identifies our pancreatic beta cells as foreign cells (or “enemies”) and produce antibodies against them. These antibodies destroy pancreatic beta cells so pancreas becomes unable to produce insulin.
It is a genetic disease which cannot prevent.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 2 Diabetes may occur due to various reasons, out of which insulin resistance is an important causative factor. Researches are struggling to find a specific reason for the development of this resistance though.
Some people with Type 2 diabetes may have Insulin in their body but fail to carry out their function effectively. Although the body tries to produce more and more Insulin in those people that effort is not sufficient.
Although we discussed the causes for Type 1 and type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, there are also some risk factors which precipitate this causes such as follows.
1. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
The family history of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Genetic pattern of cells
Environmental factors affecting the gene activation
2. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Age more than 45 years
History of Gestational Diabetes
Having polycystic ovarian syndrome (disease condition in women ovaries)
Increase belly fat layer
Both types of diabetes have common symptoms due to excess sugar in the blood. Those common symptoms are:
• Increase the frequency of urination
• Increase thirst
• Increase hunger
• Blurred vision
• Not healing the wounds quickly and properly
• Numbness and tingling of hands and feats
In addition to the above symptoms, people with Type 1 Diabetes may experience
• Excessive weight loss, and
• Mood changes
Tests for diagnosis
Sometimes we self-diagnose diabetes based on the symptoms if there is a family history. Then we visit a doctor and ask “I have these symptoms and family history, do I have Diabetes?” It is not that simple to diagnose diabetes by considering only symptoms. It is essential to do a blood test to confirm diabetes. Mainly there are three tests to confirm the Diabetes Mellitus.
1. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test or “OGTT” – this is a gold standard test to diagnose Type 2 diabetes mellitus and gestational diabetes Mellitus.
2. Fasting Blood Sugar or “FBS” level check. This test should be performed after 10-12 hours of fasting. The normal range should be less than 100mg/dL (5.6mmol/L). If it is between 100-125mg/dL (5.7-6.9mmol/L) is considered as “impaired fasting glucose level“. But if fasting sugar level goes beyond 125mg/dL (6.9mmol/L) in two separate occasions we can confirm Diabetes Mellitus.
3. “HbA1C” Test. In this test, doctors check for Glycated Haemoglobin level, which shows the concentration of sugar molecules-bonded haemoglobin in our blood. If HbA1C more or equal to 6.5%, it’s considered as Diabetes. We can perform this test at any time.
To differentiate Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, doctors do a blood test to detect antibody levels. If antibodies are found in the blood sample it is considered as Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.
For Type 1 Diabetes, the only viable treatment is Insulin. Sadly, there is no cure for Type 1 because the immune system destroys the pancreatic cells producing Insulin. People with this type of diabetes need regular insulin injections.
For Type 2 Diabetes there are several treatment options.
1. Modify the lifestyle and the diet because nutrition management is part of treatment. Strategies include:
o Regular exercises
o Reduce weight
o Keep the Body Mass Index between 18.5 – 24.9 kg/m2
o Diet and individualised meal planning, and
o Many more live-healthy strategies…
2. Take oral drugs to control blood sugar level. Drugs may help to enhance the action of insulin.
3. Insulin treatment
Insulin need when oral diabetes drugs are failed to maintain the blood sugar level within a healthy range.
Both types of Diabetes show the same complications as most of them are due to poor blood sugar control.
Main complications are as follows.
In this article, we have discussed many differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Finally, if you have diabetes the most important things to do are,
monitoring blood sugar level regularly,
taking treatment timely, and
Controlling blood sugar level optimally.
The medical practice considers they are as the pillars for having a quality life when you live with diabetes.