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Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes – The Difference

Health • by Ryno Ellis • 08 May 2017
Many people are aware of diabetes but tend to use the term loosely as very few know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We’ll take a look at each condition separately and the differences between them to shed light on the causes and treatment of both.

On 14 November, the world celebrates World Diabetes Day to bring awareness to this very serious condition.

Diabetes, also referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, is a long-term metabolic disorder where a person’s insulin production is hindered or their body cannot use insulin effectively, resulting in the inability to use glucose (form of sugar) as fuel.

Carbohydrates, like breads, pasta, rice and fruits are converted into glucose which is then transported to the body’s cells to use as energy.

The insulin hormone is created by the pancreas which is crucial in getting the glucose into cells.  

Insulin is also used to regulate blood glucose levels through the removal of glucose from the blood to be stored in muscle, liver and fat cells where it can be used for energy.

What is type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of people in the world with diabetes and symptoms can start from childhood. The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells needed to create and release the insulin hormone. This impedes the body’s insulin production. Many people refer to this as insulin-dependent diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can occur from any age and accounts for around 90% of all diabetes. The body is unable to produce enough insulin or use insulin effectively.

By taking a look at the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, we’ll get a better understanding of these conditions.

The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes:




How are type 1 and type 2 diabetes alike?

Effect on the body

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, if left untreated, can cause an array of complications ranging from blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke to even leg and foot amputations.

Gestational diabetes

There is a third type of diabetes, namely gestational diabetes. This only affects women during pregnancy.

Many women during pregnancy have extremely high levels of glucose in their blood. Their bodies are unable to produce a sufficient amount of insulin to transfer all glucose into the cells.

The majority of cases of gestational diabetes can be managed through a healthy diet and exercise, although in extreme cases medication is needed.

Worried about your diabetes prescription? GetSavvi Health has got you covered!

GetSavvi Health’s benefits include free chronic type 1 diabetes medication from a network pharmacy (Ts and Cs apply).

For more information about GetSavvi Health’s options and benefits, click here, fill in the form and a consultant will be in contact soon.


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