Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder involving the impaired utilization of insulin that leads to increased blood glucose levels. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is needed by the body to transport glucose from the blood into the cells to be used as energy or into the liver for storage. In diabetes mellitus, there is a lack of insulin or the body does not respond to insulin well leading to increased levels of glucose in the blood, which is the reason for most of the complications and mechanisms of the condition. Diabetes mellitus is categorized into type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which have different causes and treatments; however the mechanism of the disease and goals of treatment are usually the same. This article discusses the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is also known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreases lack the beta cells of the Islet of Langerhans that are responsible for the synthesis of insulin. In some cases, the beta cells are destroyed by various conditions such as infection leading to insufficient or complete lack insulin production. The main cause of type 1 diabetes mellitus is the presence of genetic predisposition for the disease. The presence of a family history of diabetes may increase the risk of other family members to develop such. Another reason may include presence of autoimmune diseases that damage the person’s own pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is also known as juvenile onset diabetes mellitus because it tends to occur early during childhood. It is known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus because the person is totally dependent to exogenous administration of insulin because the pancreas simply cannot produce it. Patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus require insulin therapy throughout life because the beta cells of the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas do not regenerate.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). Type 2 diabetes involves insulin resistance wherein the cells do not respond to insulin; thereby making insulin less effective in transporting glucose. In type 2 diabetes the pancreas still secretes insulin, but the body does not respond to it. In addition, some patients may also have reduced secretion of insulin that deemed inadequate for the body’s use. The main cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. When a person is obese, the receptors sites of insulin tend to resist insulin because of the adipose tissues that occur with them. As a result, the insulin cannot effectively transport the glucose into the cells. Other causes of type 2 diabetes include poor socioeconomic indices.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult onset diabetes because obesity tends to develop during the later stages in life. However, with the rise of unhealthy lifestyles, children also began to develop obesity, which contributes to increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents and children. Since the body still produces insulin, the treatment rarely involves insulin therapy. However, in cases of emergency where the blood glucose is very high, insulin may be given to ensure faster treatment. The main treatment regimen for type 2 diabetes is the use of oral anti-diabetics that may reduce insulin resistance or increase the production of insulin by the pancreas.

Bothe type 1 and type 2 diabetes require managements geared toward the reduction of blood glucose levels in order to prevent possible complications such as kidney disease, eye problems, neuropathies, heart disease, stroke and other microvascular and macrovascular side-effects.