Types of Diabetes

Even if you have not yet been touched by this ailment, you should remember that no one is immune from this widespread disease. Therefore, it is natural to strive to know as much as possible about it. There are 2 main types of diabetes – the first and second types of the disease. Unfortunately, not all people understand how one type of disease differs from another, which leads to various misconceptions about its symptoms and treatment.

Types of diabetes – common features and differences

Types of Diabetes Common Features and Aifferences

Diabetes is an endocrine disease associated with impaired absorption of one of the simple sugars (glucose) in the body. In turn, this phenomenon arises from the fact that one of the body’s hormones, insulin, ceases to function.

In short, diabetes of the first and second types have many similarities in the pathogenesis, and even more in the set of symptoms, but they have fundamentally different causes. Their treatment is also different. First, a little history. It took some time for doctors to learn how to separate one diabetes from another. And both diseases were treated for a long time equally, which led to the fact that neither one nor the other type of diabetes could not be cured properly.

When the fundamental differences between types of diabetes were discovered, the doctors found new approaches to the disease that immediately increased the effectiveness of the therapy.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – common features

Both types of disease have some similarities. First of all, they have a common diagnostic sign – elevated blood sugar levels. The level of sugar determines the severity of the disease in both cases. In both types, the threshold value is more than 6 mmol/l (when measured on an empty stomach in the morning). In both types of diabetes, patients experience similar symptoms: increased thirst, frequent urination, dry mouth, severe hunger.

Also, both types are characterized by the following symptoms: poor wound healing, dermatitis, ulcers on the limbs, dizziness, headaches, reduced immunity.

Diabetes of any type is characterized by the risk of developing various complications: strokes, heart attacks, chronic renal failure, chronic heart failure, diabetic foot syndrome, angiopathy, neuropathy, encephalopathy.

Both types of disease can lead to such a high level of sugar in the blood that it is fraught with stupefaction and coma.

The similarity of the diseases of the 1 and 2 types is expressed in the methods of their treatment. A therapy method that is suitable for both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is insulin shots. Also, in both types of the disease, a diet is required – a patient should reduce the amount of carbohydrates consumed.

The presence of diabetes, regardless of its type, is determined by measuring the concentration of sugar in the blood.

Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Despite the presence of similar symptoms, the differences between the diseases are also sufficient.

First of all, the causes of the disease are not the same. Diabetes of the 1 type is caused by an absolute lack of insulin. This means that the pancreas stops producing the hormone insulin, which is necessary for the utilization of glucose by the tissues. As a result, the blood is sugared, and an excessive glucose amount damages the cells of the body, instead of serving as a source of energy for them. The immediate cause of failure of insulin-producing cells can be viral infections or autoimmune diseases. This type of diabetes is called insulin-dependent.

The causes of another type of diabetes are not so simple and have not yet been fully clarified. In the second type of disease, the pancreas seems to work normally and supplies a sufficient amount of insulin. However, blood sugar still accumulates. This happens for several reasons. First of all, cells become insensitive to insulin and glucose cannot get inside the cells. This situation arises, largely due to the prevalence of insulin-insensitive adipose tissue in the body. For this reason, type 2 diabetes occurs mainly in overweight people. Also, with this type of disease, many other metabolic processes in the body are disturbed.

The following factors mean a lot for the development of type 2 diabetes: hypodynamia, excess weight, stresses, abuse of certain drugs and alcohol, wrong diet.

The second important difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the dynamics of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, acute symptoms occur very quickly, several months or even weeks after the onset of the disease. Type 2 diabetes develops very slowly. Usually, it is preceded by a condition such as prediabetes, that is, a violation of glucose tolerance. Acute symptoms can begin to occur only a few years after blood sugar levels begin to rise. In the initial phase of the disease, the symptoms may be completely absent or insignificant.

The difference between the types of the disease lies in the contingents of patients. Diabetes of the first kind threatens, first of all, young people who are younger than 30 years. Often it occurs in childhood. But the second type of diabetes affects mainly those over 40. Men with insulin-dependent diabetes are more likely to get sick, while insulin-dependent diabetes is mostly female disease. Type 1 diabetes is predominantly found in northern countries. In another type of disease, this dependence was not found. In addition, type 2 occurs more due to hereditary factors than insulin-dependent diabetes.

Another difference is in the method of treatment. For the treatment of type 1 diabetes, no other reliable means other than insulin has been invented, while in the case of non-insulin dependent diabetes, the situation is not so sad. In the early stages of the disease, diet and exercise can be effective. If these methods are ineffective, doctors prescribe drugs. The range of drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes is wide. They include both glucose-lowering drugs that do not affect insulin production by the pancreas and drugs that have a stimulating effect on the pancreas. However, this type of disease can also be treated with insulin.

Another factor that makes up the difference between a disease is the nature of the dangerous complications associated with each type of disease. In the first type of the disease, the most serious complications are ketoacidosis and hypoglycemic coma. In non-insulin dependent diabetes, hyperosmolar coma is more often observed (especially in the elderly).

How to determine what type of diabetes in a patient?

Usually, the type of disease cannot be determined immediately. After all, blood tests in both cases show an abnormal increase in blood glucose. The doctor can focus on indirect signs, for example, on the age and appearance of the patient – if the patient is over 40 years old and has an increased weight, then this is 2 types of diabetes. But this is an unreliable approach. The blood test for C-peptide, showing the level of functionality of the cells of the pancreas, is much more informative. However, in some cases, this method may also fail.

What kind of disease is more dangerous?

Diabetes of the second type seems to be a much lighter version of insulin-dependent diabetes. Indeed, diabetes of the second type requires a less careful approach to treatment, and the development of symptoms in this type of disease is slower than in insulin-dependent diabetes. However, this does not mean that a devil-may-care attitude can be towards the second type of illness. If a person suffering from 2 types of diabetes will ignore the terrible signs of the disease for a long time, then sooner or later he will face the fact that he will develop real insulin-dependent diabetes. The reason is simple – with elevated blood sugar, pancreatic cells tend to produce more insulin, but they cannot work for a long time with overvoltage, and eventually die, as with type 1 diabetes. And a person will have to deal with very burdensome insulin therapy. Besides, all the complications inherent in insulin-dependent diabetes can occur with a more “soft” type of diabetes. Thus, the difference between the two types of disease is largely arbitrary.

The table below shows the difference between the two main forms of the disease. The factors listed in the table are not absolute, as the development of the disease in each case depends on the specific conditions.

Symptom Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
Gender of patients men get sick more often women get sick more often
Age patients are usually younger than 30 patients are usually older than 40 years
Rate of disease development fast slow
Genetic predisposition weak strong
Provoking factors autoimmune diseases, viral infections, weak immunity increased weight, lack of exercise, improper diet, stress
Insulin synthesis by the pancreas missing or negligible normal or elevated, reduced in severe stage
Insulin treatment main method only at a severe stage
Treatment with hypoglycemic drugs inefficient main method
Risk of hypoglycemic coma high low