Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: General and Differences

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are completely different diseases, but they also have common features. Among them, the main symptom, because of which this ailment got its name – high blood sugar. Both of these diseases are severe, changes affect all organs and systems of the patient. After diagnosis, a person’s life changes completely. What is common and what are the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

What is the essence of both diseases and their main causes

Common for both diseases is hyperglycemia, that is, an increased level of glucose in the blood, but its causes are different.

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus occurs as a result of the cessation of the production of our own insulin, which transfers glucose to tissues, therefore, it continues to circulate in excess. The cause of the disease is unknown.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus develops in very obese people, whose tissues no longer absorb insulin, but at the same time it produces enough. Therefore, the main reason is malnutrition and obesity.   

In both cases, heredity plays an important role in the development of diseases.

Manifestations of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes have common clinical features, such as thirst, dry mouth, excessive urination, and weakness. However, each of them has its own peculiarities.

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus develops before the age of 30, cases of the onset of the disease in children 5-7 years old are not uncommon. It begins acutely, often with signs of a ketoacisode or even a diabetic coma. From the first weeks of illness, a person loses weight greatly, drinks a lot of fluids, feels bad, can smell acetone in exhaled air. Such a patient urgently needs emergency care.  
  • Type 2 diabetes has a more protracted onset for several years. Such people usually have a large amount of adipose tissue, which provokes the disease. Complaints in patients with type 2 diabetes are the same, but the manifestations of the disease are not so pronounced and develop gradually. Sometimes a diagnosis can be made only if an elevated glucose level is detected, without specific symptoms.

Diagnosis of both types of diabetes

Both types of diabetes are characterized by an increase in fasting blood sugar levels above 6.1 mmol / L in the blood from a finger and above 7.0 mmol / L in venous blood. The result of the glucose tolerance test is above 11.1 mmol / L. But with type 1 diabetes, sugar can be very high, especially before starting insulin therapy (40 mmol / L or higher). Also, for both types of diabetes, the appearance of glucose and acetone in the urine and the level of glycated hemoglobin above 6.5% are possible. 

Treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

The treatment of these diseases is fundamentally different. For type 1 diabetes, the only method of therapy is to administer insulin from the outside by injection. The treatment is daily and lifelong. In relation to type 2 diabetes, the tactics are individual: some patients can only correct hyperglycemia with a diet, someone is shown sugar-lowering tablets, in severe cases, patients receive combination treatment with tablets and insulin preparations.

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