Diabetes

Frequently Asked Questions

4. What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. With this form of diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked and destroyed them. About 5 to 10 percent of adults with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes or non insulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop type 2 diabetes at any age--even during childhood. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.

The result of type 1 and type 2 diabetes is the same: glucose builds up in the blood, while the cells are starved of energy. Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, oftentimes leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation.