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Both conditions mean there is too much glucose – i.e. sugar – in your blood, which can lead to dire consequences. Why this happens, though, is unique to each diagnosis.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, type 2 diabetes is extremely more common than type 1 diabetes – at least by 80 percent.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to make enough of the hormone insulin.
An alternative is that the insulin the body does create doesn’t work properly.
Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, happens when the body attacks the cells in your pancreas – the organ responsible for making insulin.
Thus, type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune condition, whereas type 2 diabetes occurs due to lifestyle factors.
Although there is no cure for either type of diabetes, their is evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented and put into remission.
Insulin and blood glucose
How is the hormone insulin connected to blood glucose (i.e. sugar) levels?
“We all need insulin as it helps take the glucose from our blood into our body’s cells,” explained the charity.
“We then use this glucose for energy. Without insulin, the glucose level in your blood gets too high.”
The two types of diabetes share common symptoms, which are:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- Being really thirsty
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Losing weight without trying to
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
However, the onset of symptoms differ depending on whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
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Those with type 1 diabetes have symptoms appear quickly, making them hard to ignore.
For those with type 2 diabetes, the gradual onset of symptoms means it’s easier to miss.
Diabetes UK reported that some people could have type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years without knowing it; this is why knowing your risk profile is helpful.
Type 2 diabetes risk profile
One of the biggest risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes during your lifetime is being overweight.
The other risk factors include being over the age of 40, and if there is a family history of the condition.
According to the charity, South Asian people are more at risk if they’re over the age of 25.
As type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, it’s not affected by your lifestyle.
This means you can be young and slim, yet you still have type 1 diabetes – even children are at risk.
Those with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
They must check their blood sugar levels regularly, and count how many carbohydrates they eat and drink,
Those with type 2 diabetes will need to eat a healthy diet and be active (which could possibly put the condition into remission).
However, those with type 2 diabetes will often need to take medication to control their blood sugar levels.
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