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Understanding the Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Understanding the Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

What do you think of when you hear “diabetes?” Perhaps you associate the condition with symptoms like fatigue, excessive thirst, and unexplained weight loss. 

There are several types of diabetes, but the two major ones are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They have some symptoms in common, but are very different overall. Because of this, people commonly confuse them.

Dr. Gurprit Sekhon and the Nu Wave Medical Center team treat their patients with diabetes using a highly customized approach and frequent monitoring, whether they live with type 1 or type 2. 

An expert internal medicine specialist, Dr. Sekhon doesn’t just create your treatment plan, she refines it regularly, and educates you about how to manage your diabetes without the highs and lows that blood sugar fluctuations cause. She offers a complete service menu, so you’re where you should be for your routine and chronic condition care.  

The root of diabetes

Glucose — the energy we get from food — feeds our bodies’ cells. Your pancreas makes the hormone insulin, which sends the directive to your cells to absorb the glucose from your bloodstream and transform it into energy. 

Insulin also helps your body balance its glucose levels so they neither dip too low nor climb too high. Amazingly, if your body produces excess glucose, insulin instructs your liver to store it until it’s needed later. When your blood glucose level decreases, your liver releases the stored glucose so it can be used. 

In addition to the symptoms mentioned earlier, diabetes causes others:

Though each type of diabetes shares some overlapping symptoms, this is where the similarities end. 

How type 1 and type 2 diabetes differ

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes differ in significant ways.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that develops over a short time and typically strikes children and adolescents. 

The immune systems of those with type 1 diabetes destroy the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells. After these cells’ destruction, you can’t produce any insulin, and therefore require insulin injections  in order to survive. Effective disease management necessitates that you test your blood sugar levels frequently because they can rise and fall suddenly.

A person with type 1 diabetes can receive insulin via injection or an insulin pump, which is a small computerized device that delivers insulin under your skin through a tube. Closely monitoring what you eat and when you eat are other important parts of managing the condition.  

You’re at higher risk for developing type 1 diabetes if a parent or sibling lives with it. Interestingly, the farther away you get from the equator, the more prevalent type 1 diabetes is. 

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes takes years or even decades to develop, and it’s tied closely to lifestyle factors, like diet, physical activity, and body weight distribution (people with more weight in their abdomens are at higher risk). If you’re over 45, sedentary, or have a close family member with the condition, you’re more likely to get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

Other risk factors include:

Blood sugar levels that are a bit elevated point to prediabetes, the precursor to type 2 diabetes that over 88 million Americans (1 in 3) have, yet 84% of them are unaware of.

You can generally manage or reverse type 2 diabetes by losing weight and upping your physical exercise. If these measures aren’t enough to control it, though, you may need to take insulin or medications that cause your body to use blood sugar more efficiently. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is also very important for those living with type 2 diabetes. 

Our approach to treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Dr. Sekhon takes an active role with her patients with any form of diabetes. She educates those who live with type 1 diabetes about timing their meals and snacks, overall nutrition, and exercise. 

Weight loss helps people with type 2 diabetes reverse their condition and assists people with type 1 diabetes in controlling their blood sugar. We offer medically supervised weight loss services to help you successfully shed pounds.

We also offer care for other conditions that exacerbate diabetes-related problems (vision problems, kidney disease), like high blood pressure.

To learn more, call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sekhon, or book one online

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