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The 2 types of diabetes mellitus

Updated on September 26, 2014

Diabetes is so common

Diabetes is such a common disease in this era. In 2013, it was estimated more than 380 million people have diabetes worldwide. In developed countries, such as US, it is quoted that nearly 1 in 10 elderly have diabetes. The worse thing is that diabetes can cause complications and kill. In 2012 and 2013 diabetes resulted in 1.5 to 5.1 million deaths per year globally, making it the 8th leading cause of death.

Does the type of diabetes matter ?

While most with diabetes are informed the importance of good glucose control, many have never been told what type of diabetes they have.

Does the knowledge of which type of diabetes they belong to matter to their health ?

Which type of diabetes do you belong to?

Which type of diabetes do you belong to?

See results

The 2 types of diabetes mellitus

There are mainly 2 types of diabetes mellitus: type 1 and type 2. It is, in fact, important to know which type of diabetes mellulitis one belongs to because their treatments are very different.

For type 1 diabetic subjects, their treatment is insulin injection because their pancreas, being destroyed by some inflammatory process, fail to produce any insulin in the body.

However, for type 2 diabetic people, the treatment is mainly weight reduction and oral diabetic drugs. It is because their pancreas can produce insulin but somehow the body is not responding well to it due to obesity or genetic makeup of the subjects. The main functions of the oral drugs are either to stimulate the pancreas to secret more insulin, or the improving the body's response to the insulin present in the body. Only when the oral drugs fail will they be put on insulin.

So, type 1 diabetic subjects can never have their glucose under controlled with oral diabetic drugs because the pancreas is simply totally non-functioning !

The 2 types of diabetes

  • More than 90% of diabetes are type 2. Treatment is mainly weight reduction and oral drugs. Insulin is used only after oral drugs fail to control the glucose well.
  • Type 1 diabetes is the uncommon type. Insulin is the only treatment option for this type.
  • Healthy diet and lifestyle is equally important for both types of diabetic patients.

Are you type 1 or type 2 ?

If you have no idea whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it is likely that you have the latter.

The reason is as simple as that: more than 90% of all diabetic patients belong to type 2. So by probablity, I bet you are type 2. Also, most if not all type 1 diabetic patients would have been told that they need insulin injection for the rest of their life to control their disease properly.

The following table also tells you other different characteristics of type 1 and type 2 diabetic subjects.

Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes
age of onset
onset of symptoms
presenting symptoms
body build
main treatment
insulin injection
weight reduction, oral drugs

Know your type

It is important to get aware of the type of diabetes that one belongs to as it determines the most effective treatment to control the disease.

Insulin is a must for type 1 but remains an option for type 2 diabetics.

While medications are powerful tools to control diabetes, the significant roles that healthy diet and lifestyle play cannot be emphasized more before this article ends.


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