Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

By The Captain October 22, 2020

Wellness Captain Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes: Causes

So now we know how to detect each type of diabetes. But what causes this illness and why is it so common nowadays? Let’s find out.


Type 1 diabetes

Your immune system is designed to fight off any external threat including bacteria and viruses. When type 1 diabetes strikes, your body mistakes healthy cells for dangerous invaders. As a consequence, your immune system starts destroying beta cells in the pancreas, which are crucial for producing insulin.

When there are no beta cells left in the pancreas – you guessed right – your body can no longer produce insulin on its own.

So far, researchers still couldn’t figure out why the immune system starts seeing beta cells as a threat.


Type 2 diabetes

In people with type 2 diabetes, things are a bit different. Here, the body is still able to produce insulin, but it can’t use it properly.

Once again, specialists are still unsure what causes this change inside the body, but they suspect that some environmental factors are to blame (such as sedentarism and excess weight). Other possible causes might be related to genetics and pollution.

Because your body can’t use insulin correctly, the pancreas will keep producing additional quantities to compensate and regain balance. In time, the excess of insulin accumulates into the bloodstream creating a dangerous spike in glucose levels.


Type 1 and type 2 diabetes: risk factors

While type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, it’s still useful to know the main risk factors:

  • Family history: if a parent or a sibling has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, there’s more likely that you will suffer from this illness as well.
  • Age: As I mentioned earlier on, this type of diabetes is more common in children and adolescents.
  • Geography: Apparently, type 1 diabetes is considerably more commonly encountered when you live further away from the equator.


Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is heavily influenced by the lifestyle choices you make over the years. The most prevalent risk factors are:

  • Prediabetes (slightly higher blood sugar levels than usual)
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Sedentarism
  • Having a close family member diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
  • Being older than 45
  • Having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Having suffered from gestational diabetes (diabetes developed during pregnancy)


Type 1 and type 2 diabetes: Diagnosis

The most common way of diagnosing type 1 and type 2 diabetes is by performing a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test.

This test allows a specialist to analyze your average blood sugar levels for a period of two to three months. The procedure involves your doctor giving you a small finger prick, which is entirely harmless.

The higher your average blood sugar levels are, the higher your A1C level becomes. If the test results indicate an A1C level higher than 6.5, then you receive the diagnosis of diabetes.


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