Metabolic Health

Difference Between Type-1 And Type-2 Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are conditions that affect the way your body regulates glucose or blood sugar. Both are chronic conditions that lead to high blood sugar levels and increase the risk of several other conditions. So what separates one from the other? Here are some key differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

Differences & Similarities between Types 1 & 2 Diabetes Mellitus.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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The Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are quite similar and include-

  • The urge to urinate frequently.
  • Feeling thirsty all the time.
  • Feeling hungry frequently
  • Getting tired even without any exertion
  • 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 the symptoms of Type 1 and  2 Diabetes present themselves is very different.

  • In Type 1 Diabetes, symptoms occur quickly, sometimes seen in as less as over a few weeks.
  • In Type 2 Diabetes, symptoms are slow to show up and in some cases do not develop or present at all and only get diagnosed accidentally in a routine checkup.


Both Type 1 and Type 2 are usually diagnosed by the Laboratory Testing of Blood Samples checking levels of-

  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.
  4. HbA1c
  5. Ketones
  6. Urine

How are Type 1 and 2 Diabetes Treated?

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

1. 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.

2. Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

  • Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is easier to manage and can even be reversed if detected early. Â
  • Once your type 2 diabetes has been detected, it can be managed through healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and losing weight. Â
  • 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.Â

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 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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