Last updated on September 20, 2021
Many misconceptions exist about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, that affects 29.1 million people in the United States. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the pancreas produces less of or completely stops producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is essential to live – It breaks down the sugars in the body, converting them to energy.
Type 1 Vs. Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as juvenile diabetes, is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. However, older adults can also contract type 1. It occurs when the pancreas completely stops producing insulin. The exact cause of type 1 is still unknown, but genetics and viral infections are thought to play a part.
Treatment for type 1 involves taking artificial insulin, using one of two methods:
- Injections via a syringe or insulin pen
- Pump, a device that delivers insulin through a catheter underneath the skin
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 (20-24 hours).
Type 2 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 2 is usually diagnosed in adults, and excess weight and inactivity seem to be contributing factors. With childhood obesity on the rise, type 2 is becoming more prevalent among children. Good diet and exercise habits can sometimes be enough to treat type 2. However, some patients must take medication and, occasionally, insulin shots.
Hypoglycemia Vs. Hyperglycemia
Diabetics must test their blood sugar regularly in order to maintain tight control to prevent complications later in life.
- Hypoglycemia is when blood sugar is too low (<80 mg/dl), generally due to taking too much insulin or not eating enough carbohydrates. People can experience several 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.
How to Dispose of Needles
An essential 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 allows 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.