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Type 1 vs. Type 2 diabetes: Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 vs. Type 2 diabetes_ Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a complex health condition characterized primarily by elevated blood sugar levels, which stems from problems with insulin production, insulin action, or both. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are commonly classified into two groups, each with unique causes, diagnostic standards, and treatment approaches that affect millions of people globally.

This article examines the key distinctions between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, highlighting the particular difficulties each presents as well as the specialized techniques needed for successful treatment. To ensure appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and support for individuals afflicted, it is imperative that patients, healthcare practitioners, and the broader community comprehend these distinctions.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes type 1 is a chronic illness also referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. The pancreas produces little or no insulin in this situation. The hormone insulin is what the body uses to let glucose, or sugar, into cells so those cells can make energy.

Type 1 diabetes can be brought on by a number of variables, including some viruses and genetics. Type 1 diabetes can strike adults even though it typically first manifests in childhood or adolescence.

There is still no cure for type 1 diabetes, despite much research. In order to avoid problems, treatment focuses on controlling blood sugar levels using insulin, food, and lifestyle changes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes type 2 prevents your body from utilizing insulin as it should, and it is a chronic illness.

The most susceptible age group for this type of diabetes is middle age or older. Diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes were some of the previous names for it. However, kids and teenagers can also be affected by type 2 diabetes, primarily due to childhood obesity.

Key Differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

  1. Autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks beta cells in the pancreas.
  2. Results in little to no insulin production, necessitating insulin shots for survival.
  3. Typically diagnosed in children and young adults
  4. Not preventable; exact cause unknown

Type 2 Diabetes:

  1. Characterized by insulin resistance and decreased insulin production over time
  2. Often associated with genetic factors and lifestyle issues like poor diet and physical inactivity.
  3. More common in older adults, but increasingly diagnosed in younger populations.
  4. Can often be managed through lifestyle changes and medication

Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms vary according to blood sugar levels. Some patients, particularly those with prediabetes, gestational diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, might not experience symptoms. Type 1 diabetes symptoms appear fast and are more severe.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Weight loss
  3. Fatigue
  4. Blurred vision

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms:

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Fatigue
  4. Slow wound healing

Type 1 often develops in childhood, involves autoimmunity, and requires insulin. Type 2 is more common in adults, involves insulin resistance, and may be managed with lifestyle changes and medications.

Type 1 DiabetesType 2 Diabetes
Insulin ProductionPancreas does not produce enough insulinPatient becomes unable to use insulin produced
TreatmentRequires insulinMay be managed with medication, diet, and exercise
Age of DiagnosisTypically diagnosed in childhoodMore common in adults
CauseAutoimmune diseaseOften called a “lifestyle disease”

Diagnosis of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes can be diagnosed using blood testing, the identification of autoantibodies (as in type 1 diabetes), and an assessment of risk factors.

Diagnostic tests include:

  1. Fasting blood sugar test: If your blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or above on two different tests, you may be diabetic.
  2. Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: An A1C reading of 6.5% or greater on two independent tests indicates diabetes.
  3. Random blood sugar test: Diabetes may be suspected by a blood sugar reading of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or greater, regardless of when you last had food.

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Stages Of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes


This stage of diabetes is not associated with any symptoms. However, genetic testeting can be done to identify certain genotypes which are associated with Type 1 diabetes.

Stage 1
While blood glucose levels remain normal without any symptoms in stage 1 type 1 diabates, blood work might show at least 1 autoantibidy which indicates that the beta cells of pancreas are being attacked.

Stage 2
Stage 2 is charcaterised by a rise in blood glucose levels without any symptoms, at least 2 autoimmune antibodies against the beta cells are identified.

Stage 3
Stage 3 marks the appearance of symptoms like weight loss, fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination, excessive thirst, etc.

Type 2 Diabetes

Stage 1
Body tissues like muscle, fat and liver respond to insulin present in the blood inefficiently. Consequently, the pancreas compensate by working harder and producing excess insulin. However, blood glucose levels still remain normal.

Stage 2
Stage 2 is charcterised by impaired glucose tolernace which leads to a rise in blood glucose levels, but not high enough to diagnose a patient with type 2 diabetes.

Stage 3
Blood sugar levels contiue to rise and reach the range within which a patient can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Stage 4
Type 2 diabetes continues to progress, and complications like ESRD (end stage renal disease), neuropathy, retinopathy, increased risk of stroke and cardiac events can occur.

Stages Type 1 DiabetesStages Type 2 Diabetes
PreStage Underlying genotypes associated with type one diabetes can be identified through genetic testing

No symptoms
Stage 1 Muscle, fat, and liver start to struggle to respond to the insulin

Pancreas works harder to compensate by making more insulin

Blood glucose levels remain normal
Stage 1A minimum of 1 autoimmune antibody associated with diabetes is identified in blood work.

No symptoms

Blood glucose levels remain normal

Autoimmune antibodies present indicate the beginning of beta cells being attacked in the pancreas
Stage 2 Pre-diabetes

Sometimes called “impaired glucose tolerance” 

Blood glucose levels become higher than usual yet are not considered high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis
Stage 2
2 autoimmune antibodies associated with diabetes are now identified in blood work

Beta cells continue to be attacked in the pancreas by autoimmune antibodies. This leads to a rise in blood glucose levels

No symptoms are present yet
Stage 3Blood sugar levels have continued to rise and are now considered within the type 2 diabetes range
Stage 3Symptoms start: weight loss, fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination, excessive thirst, etc.Stage 4Type 2 diabetes continues to progress, and complications occur: ESRD (end stage renal disease). neuropathy, retinopathy, increased risk for stroke and cardiac events,etc


If diabetes is not adequately treated, either Type 1 or Type 2 might result in serious complications. These comprise cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes, kidney problems, nerve damage to the eyes and feet, skin disorders, dental problems, and mental health difficulties including anxiety and despair. To reduce these risks and preserve general health, regular monitoring and treatment are crucial.

Management and Treatment

When it comes to managing diabetes, including both Type 1 and Type 2, the role of CBD medicines is an area of ongoing research and interest. From a management perspective, individuals with diabetes may consider incorporating CBD medicines as part of their overall treatment plan, under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties could offer relief from neuropathy and other diabetic complications, while also helping to manage associated symptoms like pain and inflammation. As with any medication or supplement, individuals with diabetes should consult with their healthcare provider before incorporating CBD medicines into their routine

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Recognizing the disparities between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is pivotal for effective care. While both conditions affect blood sugar levels and can lead to severe complications, their distinct causes and treatment methods necessitate tailored approaches. By promoting awareness and education, we can enhance early detection, prevention, and management strategies, ultimately improving outcomes for individuals living with diabetes.


  1. Type 1 diabetes – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. (2024, March 27). Mayo Clinic.
  2. Barhum, L. (2023, December 22). What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
  3. Cafasso, J. (2022, September 27). Is It Possible for Type 2 Diabetes to Turn into Type 1? Healthline.
  4. 1. Bunag L. Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention. Homage. Published November 8, 2023.
  5. American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee; 2. Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes: Standards of Care in Diabetes—2024. Diabetes Care 1 January 2024; 47 (Supplement_1): S20–S42.

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