Types of Diabetes - Question

By RAYT721 Latest Reply 2010-12-18 11:17:43 -0600
Started 2010-12-04 08:24:53 -0600

Can someone help me with a one or two line sentence to explain the difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic? In the old days it was simply "juvenile" versus "adult onset" but now days there are young people with type 2 and older people with type 1. Someone asked me today how to know the difference and I was, for once in my life, speechless. I can think the difference in my mind but don't know what an appropriate response would be.

21 replies

ToesKnows 2010-12-18 11:17:43 -0600 Report


I am new here, but not at all new to being diabetic.
I had my 50th birthday in August and still look much younger…which I put down to being a rock-n-roll bass player and lover of music in general for many years…though I nvere made any money at it…and only in local NY Area bands…

The simplest way to explain the difference between type one (which I have had since age 4), and type two is probably this:

Type One: Your pancreas is NOT producing insulin
(so you must add it to your system daily).

Type Two: Your pancreas still does produce insulin, but your body is not making the best use of it.

I hope this helps!!!


Mrs.Dominguez 2010-12-09 00:07:07 -0600 Report

type 1- incurable(so far) has to be controlled with insulin, is brought on by an autoimmune attack. the body attacks the pancreatic islets and therefore you have no insulin and it has to be administered via injection or pump type 2 occurs when the body makes little insulin which generally is not enough to control the size of the persons body and/or the insulin that is created in the body is not being used properly by the endocrine system, therefore you still have high blood sugar and have to take medication to control how the body is using the insulin…that's pretty basic and from the top of my head that i can remember when i learned from my doctors…if i am wrong please let me know -thanks

vheeks 2010-12-07 07:30:05 -0600 Report

Type one diabetes is not curable, type two isnt either but if you controll it right you could be off meds for life.

rock_fan12 2010-12-07 08:11:09 -0600 Report

thats not nessacarily true myeslf even if i lost a lot of weight i will still need insulin everybody is different myself diabetes is hereditary i may not have to take so much insulin but i will have to take it just the same bcause my body doesnt use it right and or not enough. for some people it could help them steven

kdroberts 2010-12-06 19:19:54 -0600 Report

To all. Not all people with type 2 produce insulin. Many produce very little or none at all. There just isn't an autoimmune attack on the pancreas like there is in type 1.

Crashnot 2010-12-06 16:39:58 -0600 Report

Type 1 produces no insulin, never will, and must have daily insulin injections to survive. Type 2 produces insulin but does not metabolize it properly, and can control the disease in most cases with proper diet, exercise and medications if needed.

GabbyPA 2010-12-05 07:27:04 -0600 Report

Well, there you have it in a nutshell. Sounds like you got your answers Ray. Aren't our members great!

JP7827 2010-12-05 11:44:38 -0600 Report

Type ! is usally early-onset at a young age. Type 2 occurs at a much later stage in life as the pancreas is functiong but the insulin production drops over the years. It can often be treated with diet and excersice and medication. Stage 1 however, is often already at a stage where insulin is needed immediately. (because the pancreasis creating very little insulin.

Lisa07 2010-12-04 19:57:15 -0600 Report

I believe type 1 the body produce no insulin at all. However type 2 usually happens when you overweight and when you reach 40 something. To my understanding Type 2 your body does not use insulin properly. Type 2 can be control with meds, diet and exercise. Correct me if im wrong thanks:-)

anniewind 2010-12-05 14:53:11 -0600 Report

That's pretty much what I was told until recently. I was originally diagnosed as type 2 due to excess weight at 48, but then my endocrinologist said that it could have sometnihng to do with genectics as well because so many of my relatives developed type 2 in their 30's to 50's'. Most of my family also suffer with Insulin resistance which makes it very difficult sometimes to keep consistent numbers. I guess the more research they do the more information we get.

Lisa07 2010-12-06 13:23:31 -0600 Report

I was diagnosed when i was 40 and slightly overweight for my height. I was told by my doctor that if i loose some weight he will decrease my meds. I did indeed loose 20lbs then gain back when i moved to Seattle. I guess the weather got to do with it. Hawaii weather is so much nicer is paradise. It really makes me feel like to exercise more often. Btw in my opinion,is really hard to loose weight when you get older. I just have to keep trying. Have a great day! :-)

Richard157 2010-12-05 11:37:20 -0600 Report

Ray, you have great answers, so I do not need to give you an answer that would be repetitious.

I just want to add that 10% of the type 2's are not overweight when diagnosed, and there are many children being diagnosed with type 2. There are type 1's that are overweight when diagnosed, and more and more type 1's are being diagnosed among older people, even those in their 80s and 90s.

So either type can be diagnosed at any age, and at any weight. No wonder doctors are confused and frequently make incorrect diagnoses. That is why I suggest seeing an endo when being diagnosed.

HisTxLady 2010-12-05 21:46:29 -0600 Report

I fully agree with Richard!! My Mom was type 2 and was over weight BUT she had lost a lot of weight before she was diagnosed. She had also been tested from her highest weight down and did not get Diabetes till she was in her lower numbers of weight and after being diagnosed she lost even more weight and was still Diabetic. I myself get very upset and hurt easily when I am told that a type 2 only needs to lose weight to lose the Diabetes!!!! That is so not true in many cases. I have this disease threw out my family history. I have had pre-Diabetes for many years, from my 20's on, even when I had a 31 inch waist. And me being type 2 now is partly my fault due to I did not want to believe I needed to eat in the Diabetic diet so I ate what I wanted when I wanted and did not gain weight so I thought I was ok. Then I started gaining in my 30's but was still in pre-Diabetic state. I did not turn type 2 until I was in my mid 40's and had been at my top weight for almost 8 years. And yes I am type 2 now and I work everyday on my diet and weight. But I fully believe I would of been type 2 anyway, it might of been brought on a few years sooner due to me not tending my diet right. I do understand that some do lose weight and go into remission but when it is in the family history in a strong manner as in mine it is inevitable. I do believe that the more weight you lose and the more you exercise the better you can control this disease but that part is up to the individual, and yes that does include me.

rock_fan12 2010-12-06 06:53:20 -0600 Report

tx lady i could not agree with you more what people fail to realisze is that as a diabetic everyones treatment is bnot just based on exercise and eating right altough they have a hand in helping you combat the diabetes but other things play into the equation like does it run in your family and like me i am very much insulin resistent and plays a factor in the treatment for us no 2 diabetics are the same i am on metformin 100 mgs twice aday symistatin for my cholesterol 20mg 1x aday lisinipril for bp and to protect kidneys 2o mgs 1x aday and insulin i take levemir long lasting 12 hour one 60u 2x a day and 3 shots of novolog during meals and at wake up depending on numbers i am working with a sliding scale trying to eat healthy so i really know where you are coming from as the saying goes what works for one doesnt nessacarily work for others and i believe it

peace13 2010-12-04 14:10:24 -0600 Report

type 1 produces no insulin at all type 2 insulin is produced but its a low amount of insulin and doesnt work the way it should

kdroberts 2010-12-04 09:04:08 -0600 Report

Pretty much what was said.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that destroys the beta cells (the ones that produce insulin) of the pancreas. Type 2 is where the body doesn't use and/or produce insulin like it should because of unknown reasons. Various tests can show autoimmune antibodies, insulin production and insulin sensitivity to a degree.

CaliKo 2010-12-04 08:57:29 -0600 Report

I started to say, that's easy! Then I tried to make it one easy sentence and it's not so easy. I'd probably say something like, "They are two different diseases with similar results. T1 is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system has destroyed the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, T2 is a more gradual disease where insulin production drops off or is not used efficiently by the body from different, not entirely understood reasons."
That's my best stab at it. Good question, we all get asked this, don't we. I'll be checking back to read the other answers.

rock_fan12 2010-12-06 07:00:45 -0600 Report

everyones answer is for a type 2 is oh lose weight and eat right youll be ok but thats not always a true statement i am a type 2 i am insulin resistent my body doesnt use my insulin right so i cant just diet and exercise i am one of the ones who needs to dial up the insulin my father mother were both diabetics but i am doing ok i am gonna be starting on victoza i hope it helps