Person holding a diabetes blood glucose monitor.

What Is The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both metabolic diseases that cause your blood sugar to increase and inhibit the production of insulin. Both forms of diabetes generally crossover symptomatically, but they could surface at a different stage in your life and have a few key differences that set them apart. 

For starters, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that prevents the pancreas from producing insulin believed to be triggered by genetics and your environment that affects around 5% – 10% of Americans. Type 2 diabetes impacts 90% – 95% of US adults and children and occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin and is closely linked to your family history and lifestyle choices. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What Causes Diabetes?

Approximately 100 million people in the US live with diabetes or prediabetes, but what is it? Diabetes occurs when blood glucose (or blood sugar) is too high. The pancreas makes a hormone calledinsulin and with the assistance of insulin, your blood carries glucose throughout your body to give it energy. In some people, they don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin does not work in the way it should. Glucose then stays in your blood instead of going to the areas in your body that need it for energy. As a result, blood glucose levels increase and when they get too high it can cause diabetes or prediabetes.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that impacts 1.25 million American children and adults. It is an autoimmune reaction that attacks cells in your pancreas that produce insulin and is caused by inherited genetics or environmental elements. For With type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually leading to the complete inability to produce insulin in the body. Type 1 generally manifests at a young age and lasts a lifetime.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes happens when your body becomes resistant to insulin and is associated with genetics and lifestyle. The disease generally arises during adulthood and oftentimes can be reversed or controlled through diet and exercise. 90-95% of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 2.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes share similar symptoms in both men and women. There are many early warning signs such as slow healing of sores or cuts and itchy skin. However, there are also many symptoms that may surface gradually.

Approximately 100 million people in the US live with diabetes or prediabetes.

Common Diabetes Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Tingling sensation in feet
  • Blurred vision

Diabetes Symptoms In Men

  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence) 
  • Lower testosterone levels
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Decreased sex drive

Diabetes Symptoms In Women

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Vaginal itching and soreness
  • Oral thrush
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Diabetes Treatment

Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

Those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes generally seek medical attention when symptoms become noticeable. For those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, treatment includes routine insulin injections (often four times per day) and blood glucose monitoring. A healthy, low cholesterol diet and plenty of exercise play an active role in diabetes management and maintaining your overall health. As of right now, there is no way to prevent or cure type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

The treatment of type 2 diabetes starts with modifications to diet and lifestyle. Having a healthy, low fat and low cholesterol diet coupled with regular exercise can often help with type 2 diabetes. In some cases, oral medications are necessary to stimulate insulin production in the pancreas. About 45% of type 2 diabetics fail to get the correct amount of glycemic control due to poor medication adherence. No matter which medication you’re prescribed, it’s important to take an active role with insulin prescriptions or other pharmaceuticals that protect your well-being.

Living With Diabetes

Diabetes is a demanding disease. Some people struggle with their daily treatment needs and maintenance requirements, but we’re here to help. Diabetes can be stressful and those diagnosed with it frequently worry about future complications.

There are a variety of diabetic community groups in the Portland area that lend emotional support to those living with diabetes. Talking with others in similar situations can provide encouragement and compassion for those living with illnesses like diabetes. Quality of life is very important to those living with diabetes. It’s important to maintain a positive and good quality of life, which will provide you with more energy to manage and care for the disease. Some aspects of diabetes that may impact your quality of life include:

  • The continuous demands of diabetic care, including eating carefully, exercising, monitoring blood glucose, administering insulin injections, and scheduling and planning around the demands of the disease.
  • Symptoms of low or very high blood glucose.
  • Fears and anxiety regarding the reality of diabetic complications.

Schedule An Appointment At NWPC Today

While living with diabetes is demanding, many people successfully manage their illnesses by making thoughtful lifestyle choices and following medical advice. At Northwest Primary Care we offer our Portland area patients a specialized diabetes management program that’s designed to meet your care needs and to provide you with the proper tools to manage your condition.

​​Do you have more questions about diabetes? Reach out to the team at NWPC, our practitioners are here to help. ​​Contact us to schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment today!