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

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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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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