Diabetes is a condition in which your body can’t produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. Insulin regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. It tells certain cells in the body to absorb glucose from the blood and then use it for energy. This means that if insulin is not produced or used effectively by the body, blood glucose levels can spiral out of control.
It can cause organ damage and even death. We will be discussing the main differences between type 1 diabetes and type 2, and offering some tips to help you manage your diabetes.
Some of the major Differences between type 1 and type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes affects about 10% of diabetics. It usually develops during childhood and adolescence but can also occur in adulthood. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the inability to produce insulin. This means that cells cannot absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy. Blood glucose levels can spiral out of control.
Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin so they need insulin injections or an insulin pump. Although type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or curbed, it can still manage diabetes with proper diet and exercise.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, accounting for 90% of those with the condition. Type 2 is caused by too little insulin being released from the pancreas. This prevents muscle cells from grabbing glucose from the bloodstream and sending it to other cells. Insulin resistance is also a condition in which cells are unable to respond.
Type 2 is more common than type 1. It usually develops later in life. While we don’t know what causes it, lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking, stress, and a lack of exercise can all increase your risk of developing this type of diabetes. Type 2 is also more common in:
- Anyone over the age of 40
- Anyone with a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being a person of colour
- Women who have had a history of gestational diabetes, or who have given birth to a baby over 9lbs
Type 2 diabetes cannot be reversed, but it can be slowed down by eating well and engaging in regular exercise. Most people who have type 2 will need to take more insulin or medicine in the future. Therefore, it is important that we slow down the progression.
Tips for People with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can use the carb counting method and choose low glycemic index foods to help control spikes in blood glucose levels. Examples of low glycemic index foods include:
- Whole-grain breads and pastas
- Dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas
- Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Fruits such as apples, strawberries, and peaches
It is also important to try to:
- Include whole-grains whenever possible
- Avoid overly processed or ‘convenience’ foods
- Include fruits as a healthy dessert option
- Make water your drink of choice
Some people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may also find benefits from other types of diets such as low carb, Mediterranean, and plant-based, among others. There are also some key lifestyle changes that can help to manage a type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnosis, including:
You can manage diabetes better by taking the time to assess and reduce stress in your daily life.
A good night of sleep can improve blood sugar levels, and lower stress levels.
General physical activity has been proven to promote weight loss and lower blood glucose levels. Diabetes Canada recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise each week (30 minutes, 5 days a week) and resistance exercises (such as weightlifting) two to three times a week.
There are many differences between type 1 diabetes and type 2, but both can be managed by regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and positive lifestyle choices such as stress management and sleep management.
These changes can be helpful in managing diabetes symptoms and can reduce the risk of complications like nerve damage, heart disease, kidney disease, and even eye damage. Talking to your doctor is important in order to be able to manage diabetes successfully.