Both forms of diabetes concern the effect that insulin has on the human body. Insulin is the hormone that helps to regulate the way the body uses the blood sugar glucose in order to create energy. Problems with the level of insulin in the body, or the way the body reacts to it, lead to diabetes.

Although both forms of diabetes are connected with insulin, they are quite different from each other. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease while type II diabetes is often caused by external influence, such as the diet and weight of an individual.

differences between type I and type II diabetes

Type I diabetes explained

Type I diabetes is most often diagnosed when a sufferer is in childhood or adolescence. It happens when the body starts to attack beta cells in the pancreas. As with many autoimmune diseases, the causes of this attack are complicated and something of a mystery.

The problem with the body attacking the beta cells in this way is that it’s these cells which produce insulin in the body. As a result of the body attacking, the levels of insulin are reduced. This means that the regulation of the use of glucose in the blood is adversely affected. Treatment is required in order to deal with the problem.

Monitoring blood sugar levels

Anyone who suffers from type I diabetes needs to monitor their blood sugar levels, several times each day. They need to ensure that they always have medical supplies on hand so that they can do this. Not monitoring blood sugar levels can lead to sufferers falling into a diabetic coma.

Injecting insulin

It’s possible for people who have type I diabetes to experience a ‘honeymoon period’ when the beta cells which remain in the pancreas start to work extra hard. During this period, symptoms can ease and injections of insulin may not be necessary. However, it’s usual for type I diabetics to inject insulin several times a day; or to use an insulin pump.

Modifying diet and exercise levels

It’s important for anyone who is suffering from diabetes to adopt a healthy diet which helps to spread carbohydrate intake across the whole day. Exercise can also play an important role in dealing with the condition; it helps the body to use insulin in a more efficient manner.

Type II diabetes explained

Type II diabetes normally affects people in adulthood; often as they reach middle age and later years. External factors, such as diet, weight and exercise levels, can lead to people developing the condition. When someone is suffering from type II diabetes, the cells in their body do not use insulin as effectively as they should. The pancreas produces more insulin, in order to try and counteract the problem. All this does is to cause sugar to build up in the blood, as the cells do not react to the insulin instructing them to turn the sugar into energy. There are several factors involved with treating type II diabetes.

Monitoring blood sugar levels

As with people suffering from type I diabetes, it’s necessary for type II diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels. Sufferers are advised how often to do this by their doctor.

Paying attention to diet and exercise

Different diet and exercise regimes suit different people. Anyone who is suffering from type II diabetes should be advised by their doctor about what their best options are. They will need to address issues such as the levels of sugar and carbohydrates in their diet. Exercise can be anything from attending the gym to taking a brisk walk. This helps the body to use insulin more effectively.

Medication if necessary

Often, type II diabetes can be controlled without the need for medication, but sometimes it’s necessary. Medication is normally in tablet form, at least to begin with.

Following an effective treatment program can often put type II diabetes into remission. This does not mean the condition goes away, just that none of the symptoms are present. Remission can last for a number of years.