Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is when the body produces little or no insulin and is usually diagnosed in children or young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin injections or use an insulin pump.

type 1 vs type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is when the body can not use the insulin it produces and eventually does not produce enough. It is usually found in people who are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, do not get enough physical activity and are older. Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases. Most people with type 2 diabetes need daily medication or insulin injections.


What is type 2 diabetes and how common is it?

Type 2 diabetes is when blood sugar levels are above normal. Our body converts the food we eat into sugar to use for energy. An organ called the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps the body use sugar. When a person has diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or can not use it the way it should. This causes sugar to build up in the blood and, over time, can cause health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation (removal by surgery) of the lower limbs (a toe, foot, or leg). More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 do not know they have it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

What are the most common long-term complications of type 2 diabetes?

People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for health problems such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation (removal by surgery) of the lower extremities (a toe, foot or leg). Adults with diabetes have a 50 percent higher risk of early death than those without diabetes.

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Is it type 2 diabetes?

Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, but this disease can often be prevented with healthy changes. Your risk is higher if you have family members with type 2 diabetes.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is related to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin acts like a key to allow sugar in the blood to enter the cells for use as energy. If you have prediabetes, your body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. The pancreas then produces more insulin to try to get the cells to respond. Over time, the pancreas can’t keep up and the blood sugar level rises. This will cause prediabetes and can lead to type 2 diabetes later in life.

For more information on type 2 diabetes, see the CDC website.

How can I prevent type 2 diabetes?

If you have prediabetes or are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, it is important to talk to your doctor. He or she will recommend a plan to help reverse prediabetes and stop type 2 diabetes. Often, this will include losing weight, eating healthier, and being more physically active. Ask your doctor about the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program’s lifestyle change program for help in making these healthy changes.

How can I reduce my risk of type 2 diabetes?

You can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthier, and getting regular physical activity. The CDC-recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you make healthy changes that have lasting results.

For more information on how to prevent type 2 diabetes, see the CDC website.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Many people with type 2 diabetes do not notice any signs. If a person’s blood sugar levels are very high, they may have blurred vision, thirst, tiredness, and frequent urination. Remember, you can’t rely on symptoms to tell if you have type 2 diabetes. It is important to talk to your doctor.

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How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed using the same blood tests that are used for pre-diabetes.

Interested in getting screened for diabetes? The CDC has everything you need to know.

How is type 2 diabetes treated?

People with type 2 diabetes need to manage their health every day. Coping with diabetes can be hard, but it’s worth it. You may be able to manage your type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. Your doctor may also recommend insulin and other medications to help control your blood sugar and avoid problems. You should also monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol, and get tested as needed.

How often should you test your blood sugar levels?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should test your blood sugar levels often. Ask your doctor how often you should test and what your blood sugar levels should be. Keeping your blood sugar levels as close to your target range as possible will help you delay or stop diabetes-related problems.

How can stress affect type 2 diabetes?

High levels of stress can make it more difficult to manage type 2 diabetes. Exercising often, getting enough sleep and learning to relax can help. Talk to your doctor about other ways to cope with stress.

How often should I see a health care provider to manage type 2 diabetes?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should meet with your doctor regularly to make sure you are sticking to your plan. This is the best way to get support and guidance, such as advice on how to manage your blood sugar and your overall health. You can also learn how to give yourself insulin with a syringe, pen or pump if needed. If you have type 2 diabetes, ask your doctor about diabetes self-management education and support. You can also search the national directory of the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists for a list of educators in your area.

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Can type 2 diabetes be reversed or cured?

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes yet. But it can be managed with healthy lifestyle habits, medications prescribed by your doctor and by meeting often with your health care team.

Visit the CDC website for tips on diabetes.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can occur in pregnant women who have not previously had diabetes. Each year, 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes. Managing gestational diabetes will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

What causes gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when the body can not produce enough insulin during pregnancy, when the body produces more hormones and goes through other changes, such as weight gain. These changes cause the body’s cells to use insulin less effectively, a problem called insulin resistance. Every pregnant woman has some insulin resistance during the last months of pregnancy. However, some women have insulin resistance even before they become pregnant. They begin pregnancy with an increased need for insulin and are more likely to have gestational diabetes.

What is the relationship between gestational diabetes and prediabetes or type 2 diabetes?

Gestational diabetes often goes away after the baby is born, but it puts a person at a higher risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in the future. About 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes will get type 2 diabetes. You can reduce your risk by resting and maintaining a healthy body weight after delivery. Visit your doctor to have your blood sugar levels checked 6 to 12 weeks after the baby is born, and then every 1 to 3 years to make sure your levels are within your target range.

For more information on gestational diabetes, visit the CDC website.