What's the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a common disease in the United States. It disallows the body to process insulin, which it converts into energy. Around 29 million Americans are afflicted with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and there are an estimated 8 million more undiagnosed.
It's important to recognize the symptoms of diabetes because, while managing it is relatively easy, if it goes untreated it will eventually lead to some serious complications down the road. Diabetes remains the leading cause of kidney failure, which is fatal if not treated quickly. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste from your bloodstream and when a patient is diabetic, it damages the body's small blood vessels. This renders the kidneys ineffective and they slowly stop cleaning the blood, which eventually leads to kidney disease.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5-10% of all diabetic patients. It's most common in children and although its cause is largely unknown, it is suspected to be due to a genetic defect. In Type 1, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin and the patient will be required to take insulin shots for their entire life. There is no permanent cure and it cannot be prevented, only managed and suppressed.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
This is the more common form of diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of the diabetic population. It occurs in people over 40 years old and is commonly referred to as "adult onset diabetes". This is because the pancreas DOES produce insulin, but the body doesn't know how to efficiently process it. This is normally controlled by diet or medication, but in some extreme cases, patients take insulin. With proper care, exercise, diet and possibly medication, Type 2 diabetes can be reversed.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes symptoms often don't show until some damage to the body has been done. Type 1 symptoms develop fairly quickly and are much more severe, although the two types share many of the same symptoms: