About 34 million Americans have diabetes. Diabetes is a term used to describe several different metabolic conditions that affect your body’s ability to use glucose for energy, but the two most common are type 1 and type 1 diabetes.
Your body relies on insulin, a hormone created in the pancreas, to convert sugar and carbohydrates from food into glucose. Once converted, glucose is your body’s main source of energy.
But if you have diabetes, cells in your body can’t use glucose to its fullest. Either your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to convert nutrients to glucose, or it can’t effectively utilize the insulin it does produce.
Instead of being used as fuel, it builds up in your blood and elevates your blood sugar. High blood sugar can lead to blood vessel damage in your heart, circulatory system, and kidneys over time.
All types of diabetes affect insulin and blood sugar and there’s currently no cure for any type of diabetes. But different types have different causes, diagnoses, and treatments. At Medical Associates Of North Texas, we specialize in managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the biggest differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes: an autoimmune condition
The causes of type 1 diabetes aren’t well known, but it’s considered to be an autoimmune disease with genetic and environmental factors. If you have a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes, your risk of developing the condition is higher.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your pancreas with antibodies. The attack makes it impossible for your pancreas to make insulin, which results in high blood sugar and other issues.
Since it’s an autoimmune condition, type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin, and follow healthy lifestyle habits that include regular blood monitoring, eating a specific diet, and getting daily exercise.
Receiving a type 1 diabetes diagnosis can be scary for patients and their families, but it’s important to know that it’s possible to live a long, healthy life with type 1 diabetes. Following your treatment plan and closely monitoring your condition helps keep complications to a minimum.
Type 2 diabetes: the most common type
Up to 95% of patients with diabetes have type 2, making this the most common type in the United States. Type 2 diabetes is generally milder than type 1, but it can still cause serious health complications if it goes undiagnosed or untreated.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas can typically produce insulin, but it may not be enough for your body or your cells are resistant to it. When insulin isn’t used effectively, blood sugar levels rise.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops much later in life than type 1. It’s not an autoimmune condition, but instead it’s influenced by family history and lifestyle factors. Your risk of type 2 diabetes increases if you:
- Are overweight or obese
- Live a sedentary lifestyle
- Are older than 40
- Have high blood pressure
- Are of Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Asian descent
- Have family history of type 2 diabetes
All types of diabetes cause high blood sugar, which damages blood vessels over time. Having diabetes increases your risk of nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and more - but managing your diabetes can significantly reduce your risk of complications.
Partner with our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas to find a diabetes management program that’s right for you. Call our office at 972-695-8053 or request an appointment online now.