Differences between type I and II diabetes

If you have ever wondered what your doctor means when he writes down Type I or Type II diabetes in the diagnosis section or when you generally hear both the terms and wonder what they mean, here is an article that would help you.

Basic understanding of what Diabetes is,

Diabetes mellitus (or diabetes) is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects your body’s ability to use the energy found in food.

Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key.

What happens to the key (Insulin) in type I and Type II?

People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key.

People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease don’t make enough insulin. You can think of this as having a broken key or defect in the lock.

Risk Factors in Type I and Type II-

Type I-Different factors, including genetics, Family history and body’s immune system is responsible. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. After these beta cells are destroyed, the body is unable to produce insulin.

Type II –Multiple factors like Genetic , being overweight, Inactivity. , Family history, history of Polycystic ovary syndrome or diabetes during pregnancy, High blood pressure, Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Age Groups most commonly effected by-

Type I DM – Often diagnosed in childhood

Type II DM- Usually diagnosed in over 30 year olds


Type I DM- unfortunately can not be prevented.

Type II DM- It may be possible to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes like staying active, maintaining healthy weight, regular exercise and eating balanced diet, and reduce your intake of sugary or overly processed foods.

Symptoms- The inability to control blood sugar causes the symptoms and the complications of both types of diabetes.

Type I-The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear when blood sugar gets too high. Symptoms include thirst, hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, weight loss, tingling or numbness in the feet, and blurred vision. Very high blood sugar can cause rapid breathing, dry skin, fruity breath, and nausea( an emergency situation called DKA=Diabetic ketoacidosis)

Type II-the first symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not show up for many years Early symptoms include frequent infections, fatigue, frequent urination, thirst, hunger, blurred vision, erectile dysfunction in men, and pain or numbness in the hands or feet.

Diagnosis / tests-

Blood tests used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes include fasting blood sugar, a hemoglobin A1C test, and a glucose tolerance test.






-Dr. Afroze

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