What is the difference between type 1 and 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease resulting in high blood sugar levels in the body. It is due to a problem with the body’s production or response to insulin.Diabetes for first aiders

Insulin is the hormone which controls the level of sugar. It is produced by a specialised group of cells in the pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans and released directly into the blood. A lack of insulin results in diabetes. Diabetes is common affecting 3-7% of the adult population. It is classified as Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

Is an immune disorder characterised by destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It is most common in Finland and least common in Asia.

It is characterised by:

  • An absence of insulin
  • A sudden onset of severe symptoms
  • A dependence on outside insulin to stay alive
  • An age of onset usually before 30 years with highest incidence around puberty

Type 2 Diabetes

This accounts for 85% of all cases of diabetes.

It is characterised by:

  • A lack but not total absence of insulin
  • Gradual onset of symptoms
  • An age of onset usually over 40 and commonly when middle aged and elderly. Approximately 6-8% of 60 year olds have Type 2 diabetes
  • Not being dependent on outside insulin but more likely to be controlled by diet or oral hypoglycaemic agents
  • Being a chronic complex disorder with significant complications which can reduce life expectancy by 5-10 years in middle-aged people

Management of diabetes

The aims for management in diabetes are:

  • To provide a day to day balance of blood sugar
  • To lessen the possibility of long-term complications

If you want to learn more about diabetes then sign up to one of our free online first aid training classes

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1 Response

  1. Gaye walker says:

    Hi, I always wondered what the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Now I know from the information you provided.
    Thank you

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