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Understanding the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Understanding the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, a chronic medical condition with no cure. Because the disease interferes with your body’s ability to convert food into energy, the consequences are quite severe if you don’t keep it under control.

That’s where we come in.

Dr. Fayz Yar Khan and our team at Four Peaks Primary Care & Internal Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona, specialize in helping people live full and active lives despite diabetes. The first step toward that goal is to help you understand your condition well, and that starts with knowing the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. 

Type1 and type 2 diabetes compared

To understand diabetes, you need to understand the way your body processes food.

Diabetes and food

After you eat a meal, your digestive system breaks down the food into sugar, also called glucose. Glucose enters your bloodstream and elevates your blood sugar level. This, in turn, triggers your pancreas to release a hormone called insulin, which enables the sugar in your blood to enter the cells in your body so they can use them for energy.

Diabetes throws a wrench in that process by interfering either with your production of insulin or your body’s ability to use it. This leads to consistently high levels of sugar in your blood, which wreaks havoc on your kidneys, blood vessels, nerves, heart, and eyes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning your immune system attacks your own body mistakenly. In this case, it attacks the cells in your pancreas that normally produce insulin. 

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often appear early in life, which is why it was once called juvenile diabetes. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes, though there may be a strong genetic factor involved. 

If you have type 1 diabetes, you need insulin therapy for life.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an acquired form of the condition. Although children and teens can develop it, it’s usually diagnosed in adults. In this type of diabetes, your body still produces insulin but can’t use it effectively. This is called insulin resistance. Again, the exact causes aren’t clear, but inactivity, obesity, and genetics play a role.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you need to monitor your blood sugar regularly. 

Other types of diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 may be the most familiar types of diabetes, but there are two others you should know about as well.

Prediabetes, as its name suggests, is a precursor to full-blown diabetes. Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you can reverse prediabetes with some key lifestyle changes.

Gestational diabetes is a type of the condition that affects some pregnant women, even those who have never had diabetes. It typically goes away after delivery, but during the pregnancy, it puts both mother and child at risk.

Diabetes by the numbers

To give you an idea of how diabetes affects the country as a whole, here are some eye-opening stats:

The numbers are especially alarming among children: More than 6,000 kids and teens have type 2 diabetes, and more than 18,000 have type 1.

Living with diabetes

If you’re one of the statistics we just mentioned, we can help you get and stay healthy. While there’s no cure for diabetes, there are plenty of ways to manage your symptoms and reduce them.

In fact, if you have prediabetes and are overweight, losing excess weight can decrease your chance of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%. We can help you do that.

Dr. Yar Khan also helps you keep your blood sugar under control by monitoring you regularly, teaching you how to monitor yourself, and offering nutritional counseling and lifestyle recommendations. If necessary, he may also prescribe medication or insulin therapy. 

To get expert support as you manage your type 1 or type 2 diabetes, call us for an appointment or book online today. 

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