Endocrinology-Diabetes Questions Diabetes

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

What is the main difference between type1 and type 2 diabetes? Does the course of treatment also differ in both types? Diabetes runs in my family on my mom's side, but I'm not too close with my family so I'm not sure of any details.

4 Answers

Diabetes mellitus is a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels. There are various forms of diabetes relating to the cause of the problem. Two major categories identified are known as type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas have been destroyed or are non-functional. These individuals do not make enough
insulin to survive and rely on insulin injections for life. In type 2 diabetes, the body is not responding well to the insulin produced and therefore glucose does not get properly absorbed by the cells in the body. We can use pills and/or insulin to improve blood glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in its origin relates very much to lifestyle and heredity. Many factors, including the body's own antibodies may be responsible for beta cell destruction in type 1 diabetes. The role of heredity in the origins of type 1 diabetes is less clear.
Dear Patient: Type 1 and 2 diabetes have these major differences and similarities:

Type 1 dm is due to the absolute loss of the pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin these people must use insulin to treat the disease. It can occur at any age but usually occurs in young people. The inheritance pattern is different in that it is not passed down from grandparents to parents to child to siblings as in type 2. Type 1 diabetics may not have any relatives with the disease or there may be some distant relatives with the illness.

Type 2 dm is due to the slow deterioration of the beta cell (insulin producing cell) over time and insulin resistance which is the inability of tissues of the body to dispose of glucose (sugar). This could be due to genetics but generally is due to obesity with fat in tissues interfering with the insulin tissue disposal mechanism of glucose metabolism. The similarities of both diseases relate to complications if the sugar level is not controlled such as eye, nerve, kidney tissue damage as well as cardiovascular problems.

Treatments differ in that type 1 patients require insulin immediately while type 2 patients can receive oral hypoglycemic agents til the disease progresses and they need insulin or other injectables.


Marvin A Leder MD FACP FACE
Type 1 requires insulin injections always. Type 2 requires diet and/or tablets, and/or injections and runs in families.
Diabetes is a spectrum of disease that occurs in many forms. Type 1 diabetes is more common in young people and in most cases is the result of a genetic problem in the immune system that (along with some unknown environmental factor that starts the process) in which the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreas & destroys the ability of the body to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a spectrum of diseases that usually begin with the bodies resistance to the normal action of insulin causing a larger than normal secretion of insulin. This high insulin secretion rate overworks the pancreas and eventually it can't keep up and the insulin producing cell begin to die and symptoms of insulin deficiency begin to show up. The main problem with both diseases is the lack of insulin either totally or relative to need, results in high blood sugar and poor function of organs that need insulin to function. Organ damage (eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, blood vessels, brain, etc.) then occurs that is very disabling. Early diagnosis and good control of the blood sugar will prevent the complications of diabetes. It is nothing to be afraid of or worry about. Just follow a good diet and keep the weight normal, exercise, and control any other medical problems. If diabetes still comes, you can live with it (I have for 26 years and am still going strong at age 82). Get a good education and keep the blood sugars normal or near normal & you will do well. AND DON'T WORRY.