There is an increased talk these days about the burden of lifestyle-induced diseases. These include conditions induced by choosing a lifestyle of staying sedentary, a habit of enjoying starchy and sugary foods, dependence on alcohol and smoking, and the likes.One of the most prominent lifestyle diseases is diabetes, particularly type-2 diabetes. Read more to know about the two types of diabetes, signs to catch them early on, and prevention tips.

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Let us start with some similarities between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are conditions that affect the way your body regulates glucose or blood sugar. Both the conditions are chronic and lead to high blood sugar levels that increase the risk of several other conditions. Here are some key differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

  1. Origin: Type 1 diabetes is a genetic disorder that affects people early in life. Environmental factors such as certain types of viruses may also trigger it. Type 2 diabetes is an acquired disease that affects later in life when significant damage has been done due to poor lifestyle choices, conditions such as cystic fibrosis, hormonal disorders, and dependence on some medicines such as those for treating psychiatric issues, HIV, pneumonia, etc.
  2. Nature: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune reaction in your body that attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin and is mostly due to physical inactivity, obesity, and consumption of fatty foods. African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics may also get type 2 diabetes due to genetic factors.

What are the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are quite similar. These include:

  • The urge to urinate frequently.
  • Feeling thirst all the time.
  • Feeling hungry always.
  • Getting fatigued without exerting yourself much.
  • Having wounds or cuts that don't heal soon enough.
  • Irritability
  • Frequent mood changes.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Dry skin.
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision.
  • Numbness and tingling in hands or feet
  • Women may have specific symptoms such as UTI, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, etc.
  • Men may report lower testosterone levels, impotence, etc.

However, the way type 1 and type 2 diabetes symptoms present themselves is very different. While those of type 1 diabetes occur quickly, sometimes over a few weeks, type 2 diabetes symptoms are slow to show up. Some people don't develop any symptoms and their condition gets diagnosed accidentally at the time of a routine checkup.

How are types 1 and type 2 diabetes diagnosed?

There are several diabetes tests that are used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These include:

  1. Fasting blood glucose test: This test is done to assess how the body manages blood sugar levels without the impact of food in their bloodstream.
  2. Oral glucose tolerance test: This test is done after the initial blood test. You are required to consume a sugary drink and then the blood sugar levels are tested over the course of 2 hours. This is done to know how does your body responds to sugar intake.
  3. Random blood glucose test: This is the easiest and the fastest diagnostic test to check for diabetes. It measures your current blood sugar levels irrespective of what you ate or drank.

How are type 1 and type 2 diabetes treated?

Just like their origin and nature, the treatments for type 1 and type 2 diabetes also differ.

Type 1 diabetes treatment:

  • There is no cure for type 1 diabetes.
  • The only type 1 diabetes treatment is to manage your lifestyle, eating healthy, and regularly doing type 1 diabetes exercise to keep your blood sugar levels under check.
  • People affected by type 1 diabetes need to be on insulin therapy for life. Other medications that your internal medicine doctor may prescribe include those for lowering your cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.

Type 2 diabetes treatment:

  • Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is easier to manage and can even be reversed if detected early.
  • Once your type 2 diabetes has been detected, it can be managed through healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and losing weight.
  • If your doctor feels that your targeted blood sugar levels cannot be attained through exercises and diet, they may use medications for type 2 diabetes treatments. These include those for lowering glucose production in the liver, stimulating the pancreas to secrete more insulin, etc.

What are some tips for preventing type 1 and 2 diabetes?

While type 1 diabetes occurs due to genetic reasons and is difficult to prevent, type 2 diabetes that's acquired due to our life habits can be prevented.Here are some of the most effective ways for the prevention of diabetes:

  • Eating healthy is one of the best ways for the prevention of diabetes. Avoid refined carbs and sugary foods and drinks that cause your blood sugar to spike. Include healthy fats and fibres in your diet and reduce your consumption of processed foods.
  • For the prevention of type 1 diabetes physical exercise play a major role. You can choose exercises that you enjoy such as strength training, walking, aerobics, or swimming. Remember, your type 1 diabetes physical exercise must be close to around 150 minutes a week to be effective.
  • For delaying the onset or prevention of type 2 diabetes physical exercises are important too. You can choose resistance training, biking, hiking, and walking. These type 2 diabetes physical exercises can also be coupled with meditation and breathing exercises to reduce your stress ┬á levels.
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol. These increase the risk of diabetes manifolds.
  • One of the best ways for the prevention of diabetes is to improve your vitamin D levels. Get a good amount of sun exposure and include fatty fish and cod liver oil in your diet.
  • Include tea and coffee in your diet. This increases the levels of the antioxidants polyphenols that help protect against diabetes.
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