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Diabetes

The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Underlying both forms of diabetes is a disorder of insulin production, use, or both. Insulin is a hormone responsible for transporting glucose into cells. When there is excess glucose in the blood, insulin is secreted from the pancreas and signals the liver and muscles to store glucose as glycogen. Insulin also stimulates adipose tissue to store glucose as fat for long-term energy reserves. Insulin receptors are found in all cells throughout the body. In a healthy person, blood glucose levels are extremely stable (Kumar 2005). Normal fasting glucose levels range between 70 and 100 mg/dL.

Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body attacks and destroys the cells (called beta-cells or β-cells) that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of cases. Because type 1 diabetics can no longer make insulin, insulin replacement therapy is essential.

Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body is no longer able to use insulin effectively and gradually becomes resistant to its effects. It is a slowly progressing disease that goes through identifiable stages. In the early stages, both insulin and glucose levels are elevated (conditions called hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, respectively). In the later stages, insulin levels are reduced, and blood glucose levels are very elevated. Although few people are aware of this crucial distinction, therapy for type 2 diabetes should be tailored to the stage of the disease.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include aging, obesity, family history, physical inactivity, ethnicity, and impaired glucose metabolism. Type 2 diabetes is also a prominent risk of metabolic syndrome, a constellation of conditions that includes insulin resistance along with hypertension, lipid disorders, and overweight.

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