There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Both forms of diabetes have to do with the body’s chronic inability to regulate blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel for the body’s cells, but insulin is the key that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells.
Both types of diabetes share similar symptoms, including:
increased thirst and urination increased hunger fatigue blurred vision numbness or tingling in the feet or hands sores that do not heal unexplained weight loss
However, the causes and risk factors for both disease types are different. Type 1 affects 8% of everyone with diabetes, while type 2 diabetes affects about 90% according to Diabetes UK.
Nutrition management is equally important for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes may need to identify how much insulin to inject after eating certain foods, while people with type 2 diabetes need to focus on healthy eating. Type 1 diabetes tends to develop quickly, while symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop more slowly. Also, type 1 diabetes is managed by taking insulin, while type 2 diabetes is managed with medication, nutrition and exercise.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin at all. Diabetes type 1 usually develops in children and adolescents, but can occur in older people as well. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes and it is often hereditary.
In most people with type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system, which normally fights infection, attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As a result, your pancreas stops making insulin. Without insulin, glucose can’t get into your cells and your blood glucose rises above normal. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:
People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells. Risk factors include:
Both types of diabetes can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of diabetes complications.
According to the NIDDK, “As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.”