Difrences Between Type 1 and Type 2
Whilst both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by having higher than normal blood sugar levels, the cause and development of the conditions are different.
It’s not always clear what type of diabetes someone has, despite what many people think. For instance, the typical assumption is that people with type 2 diabetes will be overweight and not inject insulin. While people with type 1 diabetes will be, if anything, underweight. But these perceptions just aren’t always true. Around 20% of people with type 2 diabetes are of a healthy weight when diagnosed, and many of them are dependent on insulin. Similarly, people with type 1 diabetes will in some cases be overweight.
Because both types of diabetes can be so varied and unpredictable, it’s often difficult to know which type of diabetes someone has. It’s not safe to assume that an overweight person with high blood glucose levels has type 2 diabetes, because the cause of their condition might in fact be attributable to type 1.
In some cases, when the type of diabetes is in doubt, your health team may need to carry out specialized tests to work out which type of diabetes you have. This way, they can recommend the most appropriate treatment for your diabetes.
Common differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Despite the uncertainty that often surrounds a diagnosis of diabetics, there are a few common characteristics of each diabetes type.
Please note that these differences are based on generalizations – exceptions are common. For instance, the perception of type 1 diabetes isn’t strictly true: many cases are diagnosed in adulthood.
The table above should be seen as a rough guide to the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, rather than hard and fast rules.