Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that elevates blood sugar levels.

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 individuals without diabetes.

Diagram illustrating the normal process in individuals without 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 that type 1 diabetes is caused when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

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 prevents blood glucose levels from rising excessively. The amount of insulin injected is determined by the patient’s level of physical activity and diet.

To control their blood glucose levels, individuals with type 1 diabetes should follow a balanced diet, mainly focusing on foods that won’t lead to large spikes in blood sugar. 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

In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become resistant 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 are broken down into glucose, which elevates blood glucose levels. Therefore, a combination of regular exercise and a carbohydrate-controlled diet is recommended for managing type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance

There is a strong correlation between body mass index (BMI) and both type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. In fact, obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

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