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Health Protocols

Diabetes and Glucose Control

The Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually an autoimmune disorder in which the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s immune system. As a result, little or no insulin is produced, and lifelong insulin therapy is essential (Malik 2014; CDC 2015a; Kishore 2014).

Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can occur at any age. It accounts for roughly 5% of diagnosed cases of diabetes (CDC 2015b; Kishore 2014; Cohen 2013). Insulin therapy should begin as soon as possible after diagnosis (Whitlatch 2015; Vimalananda 2014). Type 1 diabetes may arise due to genetic predisposition, with a potential role for viral infections and other environmental or dietary factors such as inadequate vitamin D intake (Dong 2013; Cohen 2013; Inzucchi 2012a).

Type 2 diabetes accounts for up to 95% of diabetes cases; its onset is typically after age 45, and it is more common with advancing age. Unlike the relatively rapid onset of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly, unnoticed by the patient until routine blood testing reveals elevated glucose (Fonseca 2013; CDC 2015b; Kishore 2014; CDC 2014; UMMC 2014).

In early type 2 diabetes, the pancreas remains capable of secreting insulin. However, as muscle, fat, and liver tissues become more insulin resistant, they may eventually become unable to respond effectively to insulin’s signal. Insulin resistance contributes to poor blood glucose control and diabetes (Wilcox 2005; DeFronzo 2009). As diabetes progressively worsens, pancreatic beta cells begin to “burn out,” and exogenous insulin is often necessary in late-stage disease (Prentki 2006; White 2003).