Did you know that 10.5% of the US population -- that's 34.2 million people -- have diabetes?
Of these people, 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes. The rest have type 1 diabetes, and in some, gestational diabetes.
As if that's not enough, many people with diabetes also live with other chronic conditions. In fact, as many as 40% of diabetics have at least three comorbid diseases, such as hypertension.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increase a person's risk of such diseases.
The question now is, how exactly does type 1 vs type 2 diabetes differ? How do they even develop in the first place and who are at most risk of getting them?
We'll answer all these questions in this post, so be sure to read until the end!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by excessive levels of blood glucose or blood sugar. Blood glucose is the body's primary source of energy, which the body converts from food.
Before the body can use glucose as energy though, the "sugar" first needs to get into the cells. Insulin is the hormone that makes this process possible. The pancreas is the organ responsible for making insulin.
Diabetes, however, affects the body's ability to generate or use insulin. In some cases, the body won’t have any insulin to process. In most other people, the body doesn’t utilize insulin properly, so it can’t convert glucose into energy.
Either way, most of the consumed sugar remains in the blood. Diabetes is one of the health problems that elevated blood sugar levels can result in.
Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes: It's All in the Insulin
The main difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the presence of insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes: How It Occurs
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is one of the more than 100 known types of autoimmune diseases. These are diseases wherein the immune system attacks the body's healthy cells.
In people with type 1 diabetes, their autoimmune system attacks the cells in the pancreas. These are the beta cells that produce insulin. The destruction of these cells then renders the body unable to produce insulin.
Type 1 diabetes also often occurs with autoimmune thyroid disease. An estimated 90% of patients with T1D also live with this thyroid condition.
What About Type 2 Diabetes?
In people with type 2 diabetes (T2D), the pancreas still generates insulin. However, the body is unable to use it properly, which is why T2D is also known as "insulin resistance".
This presence of insulin, albeit the body's inability to use it, is what makes type 2 diabetes vs type 1 different.
Researchers have yet to uncover why some people become insulin resistant. Studies, however, link lifestyle factors like inactivity and excess weight to T2D. For instance, as many as nine in 10 people with type 2 diabetes are either overweight or obese.
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors
Type 1 diabetes isn't a preventable disease. However, age and genetic factors can make you predisposed to this condition. If you have a parent or a sibling with T1D, you are also at a higher risk of getting it yourself.
You're at More Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes
One of the main diabetes differences between T1D and T2D is that the latter comes with more risk factors. However, that also makes it a bit easier to prevent, or at least manage, than type 1.
For instance, being overweight or obese can make you more susceptible to T2D. Being inactive or having a sedentary lifestyle is also often linked to type 2 diabetes.
Belly fat can also affect the functions of hormones, including those made by the pancreas. That's why having a lot of visceral or abdominal fat can increase one's risk for type 2 diabetes.
Having had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) also increases one's risk for T2D. Even more so if the baby's birth weight was over 9 pounds.
Determining If You Have Diabetes
Taking a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test is the first step to diagnosing diabetes. This test checks your average blood sugar level within the last two to three months. To do this, your doctor will draw a very small amount of blood from you to use for the test.
A test that reveals an average blood sugar level of 6.5 or higher is a solid sign of diabetes.
Managing Diabetes for Less
Diabetes is a costly disease, with patients spending over $9,600 a year for diabetes alone. One reason is the need for constant blood sugar monitoring, which applies to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The good news is, there are several methods to score money-saving deals on glucose strips. One way is to find subscription discounts offered on diabetes testing strips.
Subscriptions for the Prodigy No Coding Test Strip, for instance, can save you up to 5% more. That's on top of the savings you'll already enjoy with the strips' lower price.
Moreover, first-time subscribers will get a free testing meter. With this, you can test your glucose levels as needed.
Purchasing diabetes supplies online is another great way to reduce your costs. The most reliable medical supply stores offer wholesale rates on their retail products. They can do this since they also get their supplies from overstocked pharmacies.
Don’t Let Diabetes Get the Better of You
There you have it, your ultimate guide on how type 1 vs type 2 diabetes differs from each other. Now that you know, it's best that you get tested for diabetes if you meet any of its risk factors. The sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you can manage your diabetes symptoms.
If you test positive for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we here at Save Rite Medical can help ease your financial burden. Check out our extensive list of diabetes supplies so you can reduce your diabetes costs! Please feel free to get in touch with us too if you have any questions about our offers.