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The Difference Between Types 1 and 2 Diabetes

November 6, 2023

Our Diabetes Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness of diabetes. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of November. Each article will cover different aspects of diabetes, offering information and resources aimed at reducing the stigma associated with diabetes, encouraging early diagnosis, and promoting healthy lifestyle choices to prevent and manage diabetes effectively.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes may have very similar names, but there are significant differences in what causes each disease and how to treat it. However, they both have some common symptoms and implications for patients. Both diseases significantly impact how the body breaks down food and controls blood sugar.

First, it is important to understand what diabetes is before establishing the differences between Type 1 and Type 2. In patients with diabetes, the body cannot produce enough insulin or use insulin as well as it should, which leads to an inability to control blood sugar. Insulin is the molecule that allows the body to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells to be used for energy. When blood sugar remains high, it can lead to serious complications like vision loss and kidney injuries.

The major differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are related to why the body cannot control blood sugar.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition (the body attacks itself) in which the body attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Thus, the body cannot produce enough insulin to move the sugar in the blood into the cells. The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown but is likely caused by genetic factors. Type 1 diabetes is managed by using insulin injections to lower blood sugar after eating. Essentially, the insulin injections replace the insulin that the pancreas would release in a patient without Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 and has different causes. Type 2 diabetes stems from the body’s inability to use insulin effectively, also known as decreased insulin sensitivity. This means that the same amount of insulin does not lower the blood sugar as much as it would in a patient without Type 2 diabetes. Over time, the body cannot produce enough insulin to lower the blood sugar to normal levels. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes often correlates to how much carbohydrates and sugar one is eating, the absence of physical activity, and in some cases being overweight, in addition to some genetic components. Treatments for Type 2 diabetes can consist of many different types of medications combined with diet and exercise changes. At TLC, as part of our comprehensive approach, we also encourage the carnivore diet and a specialized supplement called Metabolic Formula to effectively lower cholesterol levels.

Overall, Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes have significant differences, leading to differences in how they are treated. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, and Type 2 diabetes is more related to a lack of insulin sensitivity. Management of Type 1 diabetes is relatively simple as it only consists of insulin injections, while Type 2 diabetes management can consist of many medications combined with proper diet and exercise.