Type I and Type II Diabetes: What’s the Difference?

diabetes supplies

Many misconceptions exist about the differences between Type I and Type II Diabetes, a disease which affects 29.1 million people in the United States.1  Diabetes is a chronic disease, in which the pancreas produces less of or completely stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential in order to live. It breaks down the sugars in the body, converting them to energy.

Type I Diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, older adults can also contract Type I. It occurs when the pancreas completely stops producing insulin. The exact  cause of Type I is still unknown, but genetics and viral infections are thought to play a part.2 Treatment for Type I involves taking artificial insulin either by injections via a syringe or insulin pen or a pump, a device that delivers insulin through a catheter underneath the skin.3 Rapid-acting insulin begins decreasing blood  sugars within 10-30 minutes and is good to take before eating. Long-acting insulin helps stabilize sugars over a longer period of time (20-24 hours).4

Type II Diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, occurs when people become insulin resistant. Their bodies still produce some insulin, but they aren’t responding to it. Type II is usually diagnosed in adults and excess weight  and inactivity seem to be contributing factors.5 With childhood obesity on the rise, Type II is becoming more prevalent among children. Good diet and exercise habits can sometimes be enough to treat Type II. However, some patients must take medication and occasionally, insulin shots.

It’s essential that diabetics test their blood sugar on a regular basis in order to maintain tight control to prevent complications later in life. Hypoglycemia is when blood sugar is too low (<80 mg/dl), generally as a result  of taking too much insulin or not eating enough carbohydrates. People can experience a number of symptoms, such as dizziness, weakness and sweating and must eat food containing carbohydrates immediately. Hyperglycemia occurs when   blood sugar is too high (>180 mg/dl) because the body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use insulin properly. Symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination.6

An important aspect of diabetes care is properly disposing of all sharps. Between the syringes and lancets, diabetics are left with many used needles. Needles should be disposed of safely in a sharps container, which can be purchased at drugstores and pharmacies. Sharps Compliance offers  containers with a mailback option that allow you to mail back the filled container to be treated. You may also check with your city to see if they have any collection sites where you can drop off your sharps containers. Several states have passed legislation making it illegal to throw sharps into household trash, so be sure to determine the safest method of disposal that meets all state requirements.

  1 National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014
  2 Type 1 Diabetes Causes
  3  How Do Insulin Pumps Work?
  4  Types of Insulin for Diabetes Treatment
  5 Type 2 Diabetes Causes
  6  Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose)