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What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?


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We know some people are having a hard time knowing the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although both have things in common, there are also lots of differences surrounding these two. These include the causes, who they affect, and how you should manage them.

In this blog post, we will address all of those to help you better handle this illness.


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus (commonly known as diabetes) is a metabolic disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. Hence, making Type 1 and type 2 diabetes share the same problem of high blood sugar levels resulting in symptoms and complications. But these are two different diseases in many ways.

The 2017-18 National Health Survey data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that approximately 1.2 million Australians have diabetes. That is the equivalent of 4.9% of the population who have this condition.

According to National Diabetes Register, type 1 diabetes affects 12 people per 100,000 population. While type 2 diabetes affects 5.3% of adults, with about 1 million cases recorded.

Both types of diabetes generally crossover symptomatically, but they could occur at a different stage in your life, and they have a few key differences that set them apart. Here is what else you need to know to be health-savvy in this age where diabetes is epidemic.


Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. It accounts for 10% of the overall diabetes cases in Australia and is continuously increasing every day.

It is formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes because its symptoms often begin in childhood. Currently, it is referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes” due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin hormone. Genes greatly affect the occurrence of Type 1 diabetes in a person.

Many of the health problems that come with Type 1 diabetes are due to damage in the diabetic retinopathy or tiny blood vessels in the eyes. It is also because of the damage to the nerves (diabetic neuropathy) and kidneys (diabetic nephropathy). People with type 1 diabetes also have a higher risk of having heart disease and stroke.

Treatment for this involves the injection of insulin into the fatty tissue just under the skin. The most common treatment are syringes, insulin pens, jet injectors, and pumps that send insulation through a tube to a catheter.


Type 2 diabetes

The primary concern with type 2 diabetes is the inability of the body cells to utilise insulin properly and efficiently. This problem will lead to hyperglycemia or high blood sugar and eventually diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in many people than type 1, and it is often milder. However, it can still cause major health complications in the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, nerves, and eyes. Similar to type 1, type 2 diabetes also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It often occurs in individuals over 30 years old, and its incidence also raises as we age.

The treatment for type 2 diabetes involves keeping a healthy weight, eating nutritious food, and regular exercise. Some people may require medication and maintenance too.


Gestational Diabetes (Type 3)

Aside from the two common types of diabetes, there is also type 3, which is gestational diabetes.

While a woman is pregnant, she may experience some form of insulin resistance. Take note that the blood sugar level of the mother travels through the placenta to the baby. Therefore, diabetes needs to be controlled as early as possible to protect the baby’s growth and development.

Gestational diabetes is often spotted by doctors in the middle or late pregnancy.        


Living with Diabetes

Diabetes, in any form, is a demanding disease. Many people living with it struggle with their daily treatment needs and maintenance requirements.

In Australia, people are diagnosed with diabetes at a rate of one person every 5 minutes. With such high rates, we highly recommend that you attend a practical first aid course to learn how to help in a diabetic emergency.

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