Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes blood sugar levels to get too high.

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

Types of Diabetes

The diagram below shows the normal process that occurs in people that don’t have diabetes.

Diagram that shows the normal process that occurs in people that do not have diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

With Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces very little or even no insulin. This often means that the body will have excess glucose, which can be dangerous. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs during childhood or teenage years but it is a lifelong condition.

Diagram that explains type 1 diabetes using images and text

  • Scientists believe it is caused by the immune system attacking itself by mistake, damaging the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin

Type 1 diabetes can be treated by monitoring blood sugar levels and injecting insulin (usually in the abdomen or thigh). The extra insulin causes the liver to convert glucose into glycogen, which reduces the blood glucose level before it gets too high. The amount of insulin injected is determined by the patient’s level of physical activity and diet.

Patients with type 1 diabetes can help to control their blood glucose level by choosing an appropriate diet, which mainly involves eating foods that will not cause large increases in blood sugar levels. Exercising will also help to reduce blood sugar levels because working muscles can use glucose during respiration, whether insulin is available or not.

Type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, cells of the body no longer respond to the insulin produced by the pancreas. The blood glucose level can also rise too high, which is dangerous. Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people.

Diagram that explains type 2 diabetes using images and text

Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which raises the overall blood glucose level. So, exercise and a carbohydrate-controlled diet is the best treatment for this type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance

Body mass index (BMI) has a strong relationship with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. In fact, obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.