Diabetes: Differences Between Type 1 and 2
In general, people with diabetes either have a total lack of insulin (type 1 diabetes) or they have too little insulin or cannot use insulin effectively (type 2 diabetes).
- Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), accounts for 5% to 10% of all people with diabetes.1 In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body. Without insulin, cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose), which they need to produce energy.
- Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset or non–insulin-dependent diabetes) can develop at any age, but most commonly becomes apparent during adulthood. But the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children is rising. Type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of people with diabetes—90% to 95%. In contrast to type 1 diabetes, insulin resistance is the main characteristic of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance refers to the body's inability to respond properly to insulin. Resistance develops because of many factors, including genetics, obesity, increasing age, and having high blood sugar for a long time.
How are these diseases different?
Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
| Type 1 diabetes|| Type 2 diabetes|
| Symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood. People often seek medical help because they are seriously ill from sudden symptoms of high blood sugar.|| The person may not have symptoms before diagnosis. Usually the disease is discovered in adulthood, but an increasing number of children are being diagnosed with the disease.|
| Episodes of low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are common.|| There are no episodes of low blood sugar level, unless the person is taking insulin or certain oral diabetes medicines.|
| It cannot be prevented.|| It can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating sensibly, and exercising regularly.|
How are they alike?
Both types of diabetes greatly increase a person's risk for a range of serious complications. Although monitoring and management of the disease can prevent complications, diabetes remains the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. It also continues to be a critical risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and foot or leg amputations.