Type 1 Diabetes vs. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes affects over 29 million people in the United States and 1 in 4 of those affected are unaware of it.[1] Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in younger people and is caused because the body cannot produce enough insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use the insulin it produces. This disease, usually caused by obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, is usually diagnosed in adults but incidence rates are increasing among teens in America.[2][3]

Comparison chart

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Definition Beta cells in pancreas are being attacked by body's own cells and therefore can't produce insulin to take sugar out of the blood stream. Insulin is not produced. Diet related insulin release is so large and frequent that receptor cells have become less sensitive to the insulin. This insulin resistance results in less sugar being removed from the blood.
Diagnosis Genetic, environmental and auto-immune factors, idiopathic Genetic, obesity (central adipose), physical inactivity, high/low birth weight, GDM, poor placental growth, metabolic syndrome
Warning Signs Increased thirst & urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision and extreme tiredness, glycouria Feeling tired or ill, frequent urination (especially at night), unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections and slow wound healing, asymptomatic
Commonly Afflicted Groups Children/teens Adults, elderly, certain ethnic groups
Prone ethnic groups All more common in African American, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander
Bodily Effects Beleived to be triggered autoimmune destruction of the beta cells; autoimmune attack may occur following a viral infection such as mumps, rubells cytomegalovirus Appears to be related to aging, sedentary life-style, genetic influence, but mostly obesity
Common physical attributes found Mostly Normal or Thin Mostly Overweight or Obese
You have this when Your body makes too little or no insulin. Your body can still produce insulin but does not use it properly (insulin resistance)
Estimated percentage of occurance 5% -10% of the 171 million of people affected by diabetes in 2000 90% - 95%-of total cases. Although the projected number of Americans that will have type II diabetes in the year 2030 will double from 171 million to 366 million cases
Affected age group Between 5 - 25 (maximum numbers in this age group; Type 1 can affect at any age) Until recently, the only type of diabetes that was common in children was Type 1 diabetes, most children who have Type 2 diabetes have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, and are not very physically active. Usually develops around puberty
Glucose Channels / Receptors Open and absorb glucose into cell to be utilized by processes after the induction of insulin Are unable to open and absorb glucose, therefore glucose cannot be utilized by processes; as a result the glucose stays in the blood stream
Cure None There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, although sometimes gastric surgery and/or lifestyle/medication treatment can result in remission. Physical exercise, healthy loss of weight & diet control are advised.
Treatment Insulin Injections, dietary plan, regular check up of blood sugar levels, daily exercise Goals: optimal glucose, prevent/treat chronic complications, enhance health with food/PA, individual nutrition needs Diet, exercise, weight loss, and in many cases medication. Insulin Injections may also be used, SMBG
Onset Rapid (weeks) - often present acutely with ketoacidosis Slow (years)

Contents: Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes

What causes Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which your body cannot properly store and use fuel for energy. The fuel that your body needs is called glucose. Glucose comes from foods such as breads, cereals, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits and some vegetables. To use glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is made by a gland in your body called the pancreas.

You have diabetes because either:

  1. Your body makes too little or no insulin. This is called Type 1 diabetes.
  2. Your body can't use the insulin it makes. This is called Type 2 diabetes.

To Insulin or Not to Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone that is produced and secreted by the pancreas. Its job is to assist the body in turning food into energy. Insulin also helps the body to store excess energy that can be used at a later time. When we eat, insulin causes glucose to move from the blood to the body's cells. There, the glucose is used to make protein, fat and sugar. Between meals, insulin helps the body utilize the stored proteins, fats and sugars for energy. Insulin signaling in the brain decreases appetite and prevents glucose production by the liver through neuronal signals from the hypothalamus. Insulin resistance, in contrast, leads to the release of free fatty acids, and usually affects obese diabetics.

Type 1 (a.k.a. juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent) diabetes develops due to a virus or autoimmune disorder in which the body does not recognize an organ as its own and attacks it. To be exact the body's immune system destroys certain cells in the pancreas. Those so-called beta cells make insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb glucose. Because of this disorder the body stops making insulin. When the body doesn't produce or process enough insulin, it causes an excess of the blood sugar glucose. Glucose, the body's main source of energy, comes from the food we eat and is also produced by the liver and muscles. And when the body's level of glucose is too high, that is the chronic condition known as diabetes. Because people with Type 1 diabetes can’t produce insulin, they are required to take insulin every day.

Comparison of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Comparison of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 (a.k.a. adult-onset or non insulin dependent) diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:

Because of low level of Insulin, the body is unable to keep the sugar in the blood within a "normal" range. Type 2 diabetes is treated initially with meal planning and exercise. Sometimes medications need to be added to keep blood glucoses in the "target" range.

Who is Affected? (Risk factors)

Only about 5%-10% of diagnosed diabetes cases are Type 1. The disease is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can strike at any age. Scientists do not know yet exactly what causes it but suspect the disease involves a combination of genetic, environmental and autoimmune factors.

A person who is overweight, does not exercise and is over 30 or if the person has close relatives who have Type 2 diabetes has a very high risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. Higher-risk ethnic groups include African American, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander American heritage.

You are more likely to get diabetes if you smoke, have high blood pressure, have a cholesterol problem, such as high trigylcerides (250 or more) or low good cholesterol (HDL), or if you had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds. You can take a diabetes risk test here.

A study published in May 2014 found that from 2001 to 2009, prevalence of Type 1 diabetes increased 21% and Type 2 diabetes increased 30% among children and adolescents in the U.S. [4][5]

When do you get Type 1 / Type 2 diabetes?




People with type 1 and 2 experience many of the same symptoms. They also both need to keep close tabs on the amount of sugar in their blood. It’s also very important for people with type 1 and 2 to keep in close contact with their diabetes specialist (a.k.a. endocrinologist). Your doctor works with other professionals (diabetes nurse educators, dietitian educator) to give you the best care possible. You should see your treatment team at least once every three months.


In June 2014, the CDC released the latest statistics on diabetes and prediabetes. Here are the highlights (or see this infographic; all numbers pertain to the United States):


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