Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas does not produce insulin. Without insulin, the body is unable to move blood sugar (glucose) into the body’s cells where it is needed for energy production. Both high and low blood sugar levels can result in many dangerous symptoms. Because of this, people with type 1 diabetes are required to carefully assess carbohydrates at each meal and balance this with insulin shots or use of an insulin pump.
According to the American Diabetes Association, only 5% of people with diabetes have Type 1. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by lifestyle, diet, exercise or weight – although physical activity and a balanced diet can be important tools after diagnosis to help manage blood sugar levels in combination with an insulin regimen. There is currently no cure for Type 1 diabetes, and people with this type will always require insulin throughout life until a cure is found.
Type 2 diabetes is related to a multitude of factors – some of which include diet, weight, and exercise. While once known as “adult onset” diabetes, this condition is more often being diagnosed in children due to increasing rates of overweight/obesity in youth. In Type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells do not respond to insulin that is produced and/or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. With lifestyle changes, people with Type 2 diabetes may be able to reduce their medications and can sometimes even control their diabetes with diet and exercise alone.