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What are the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

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What are the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes and Endocrine Sciences | Posted on 03/20/2023 by Dr. Ankur Gahlot

Most people know that there are two types of diabetes i.e. type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but very few people actually understand the differences between both types. Are you one of those? Yes? Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Even though both types of diabetes are metabolic disorders causing an increase in the levels of blood sugar, they are different in certain ways. One of the main differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 1 is a genetic condition whereas type 2 is primarily related to lifestyle and grows over time. According to studies, type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. In this blog, you will get comprehensive information on type 1 and type 2 diabetes so make sure to stick to the end. Interested in knowing more? Then, let us dig deeper into the information linked to both types of diabetes.

What happens if you have type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

It is important to understand that if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your blood has excessive glucose concentration in it. To put it simply, it means that your blood sugar levels are high. The difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is how the levels of blood sugar are elevated. For people who have type 1 diabetes, the diagnosis is an outcome of an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when your body automatically charges on and destroys the cells responsible for producing enough insulin - the hormone that regulates blood sugar in the body.

Insulin is an important hormone that is needed by your body so that it can move glucose from your blood to the cells. Then, glucose is used as energy for carrying out other important functions. However, the absence of insulin leads to glucose build-up in the blood causing elevated levels of blood sugar.

However, in case of type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to produce the required amount of insulin or maybe it is producing it but the insulin is unable to function properly because you have, what is known as, insulin resistance. 

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

Let’s have a look at the table below depicting the major difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

Type 1

Type 2

Juvenile onset

Adult onset

Autoimmune or genetic causes

Insulin resistance, obesity or ageing

Non-functional pancreas

Partially functional pancreas

No insulin produced

Some insulin produced

Symptoms of thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type 1

Cannot be prevented

Can be prevented through lifestyle changes

Not reversible

Reversible with early diagnosis

Requires healthy lifestyle & medical supervision

Requires healthy lifestyle & medical supervision

Origin of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes- It is a genetic disorder which affects people at an early age. There are environmental factors which can trigger this type.

  • Type 2 diabetes- This type of diabetes affects people in their later ages when significant damage has been done because of hormonal disorders, lifestyle choices, dependency on certain medicines, etc.

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

The symptoms of both types are quite similar. But, here is what you must know before we discuss it.

  • Type 1 diabetes- The symptoms of this type can be seen within a few months after birth or adolescent age. This is why it is also known as juvenile-onset diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes- In this type, symptoms are usually visible after many years as it develops gradually.

Below are the symptoms of both diabetes types:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling excessive thirst
  • Feeling hungry all the time
  • Fatigue
  • Wounds or cuts which don’t heal
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision
  • Rapid breathing
  • Frequent mood changes

Is there an emotional impact of type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Yes, certainly, there is an emotional impact of having diabetes which is often less spoken about. Living with diabetes is surely a stressful chapter for anyone suffering from this disease and it’s not physical but mental as well. You should understand that having type 1 or type 2 diabetes can make you feel low and anxious after you are diagnosed with any of the types. Even after putting efforts to manage your diabetes, the emotional impact can deteriorate your condition over time.

Before sinking into the thought “I am alone”, reach out for support. Get in touch with counsellors or professionals and talk about your situation and openly discuss everything. You can feel emotionally drained. But, always remember that you aren’t alone in the journey and you can always reach out to people who you feel close to, or you can talk to people experiencing the same issues so that you can support each other in the journey.

How are type 1 and type 2 diagnosed?

There are certain tests which might be ordered by your doctor to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Healthcare confirms diabetes by assessing the range of blood sugar levels. The following tests are ordered:

  • A1c test- A blood test sample is taken out to reveal the levels of blood sugar
  • Fasting plasma glucose test (FPG)- It requires a minimum of 8 hours of fasting
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)- Blood levels are recorded after two hours of sugar drink and before two hours.
  • Random plasma glucose test (RPF)- It can be performed at any time of the day to assess the levels of blood glucose.

Have a look at the table below:


A1c %

FPG (mg/dl)

OGTT (mg/dl after 2 hours)

RPG (mg/dl)


Under 5.7%

Under 100

Under 140

Under 200


6.5% or more

126 or more

200 or more

200 or more






How are type 1 and type 2 treated?

The goal of treatment in both type 1 and type 2 is to keep blood sugar levels in a constant and safe range. Here is the treatment process for both types:

  • Type 1- No cure is available for type 1 diabetes. People who have this type cannot produce insulin. So, it should be taken regularly and levels of blood sugar should be checked daily. Some people prefer taking injections into soft tissue like the arm, buttocks, and stomach, while some use insulin pumps. These pumps help in supplying a sufficient amount of insulin into the body through a small tube. It is important to test blood sugar levels regularly to manage type 1 diabetes as levels keep going up and down very fast.
  • Type 2- It can be managed and even averted with regular exercise and diet, but some people might require additional support. The doctor might recommend medications if lifestyle changes are not helping. It helps in producing insulin throughout the body effectively. People with this type must ensure the monitoring of their blood sugar levels. It is the best way to understand if your blood sugar levels are managed or not. Blood sugar testing is also recommended frequently and if the levels are high, then a endocrinologist doctor might recommend insulin injections.

How to prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

There is no way you can prevent type 1 diabetes. But, you can take measures to prevent type 2 diabetes. Here are some of the measures:

  • Make sure to maintain your body weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods or processed food items


When we talk about understanding the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, then there is no straightforward answer to this. Because both conditions have high levels of sugar in the blood. In type 1 diabetes, no insulin is there in the body to move glucose into the cells to produce energy. In type 2, the insulin is not effective due to insulin resistance. If you experience the symptoms of any type of diabetes or are diagnosed with diabetes, work with your doctor to comprehend the best ways for you to manage the condition. You can also get in touch with one of the best multi specialty hospitals in Jaipur, Rukmani Birla Hospital. We have a team of highly-skilled and talented healthcare professionals having years of experience in their fields. It is one of the best diabetes hospitals in Jaipur, you can ever find so don’t delay and book your appointment now. 


How to cure type 1 diabetes permanently?

At present, there is no cure available for type 1 diabetes. However, researchers are making relevant breakthroughs, and new technologies and medicines are being developed. This type requires treatment for the rest of your life. It is important to follow the doctor’s instructions to manage diabetes such as taking insulin daily, eating a healthy and balanced diet, checking blood sugar levels, and exercising daily.