• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Type 1 vs Type 2 diabetes

When we eat food, our body digests the carbohydrates like starch and sugars and breaks them down into its smallest monomer form, glucose, which also happens to be its most abundantly available form.

Glucose is an important source of energy that is needed by all the cells in an organism on a molecular level.

When the body digests the glucose in the stomach and small intestines, the inner walls and villi of these organs absorb the glucose which then enters the bloodstream.

Glucose is required to be continuously regulated and supplied as it acts as the fuel that the body cannot synthesize on its own. However, as much as glucose is required by the body, excess production of glucose is harmful..

The condition in which there is high blood sugar or glucose content in the system is known as diabetes.

There are two types of Diabetes and to understand them better, we must understand the endocrine function of the pancreas that has clinical relevance to two types.

pancreas, blood sugar

Credit: Wikimedia Common


Endocrine Function of the Pancreas: Insulin

The pancreas is located near the stomach in the upper left abdomen area. It is responsible for producing the hormone known as insulin. Insulin is responsible for maintaining and regulating the normal blood sugar levels in your body.

It does so in the following ways:

  1. Decreasing the blood sugar level by acting as a counter action for a number of hyperglycemia-generating hormones.

  2. It allows the liver to store glucose in the form of glycogen and reconverts and utilize it when necessary.

  3. It promotes utilization of glucose by triggering the liver, muscles and fat cells to take in glucose and convert it into useful energy such as ATP for normal body functions.

Beta cells of the Pancreas

Beta cells of the Pancreas, Image Credit: Wikipedia


Insulin Problems

The problem arises when the normal levels of insulin in the body get disturbed or the body stops responding to it and as a result, glucose levels are not controlled leading to high blood sugar or diabetes.

Difference Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

This is an autoimmune condition where your immune system starts to destroy the endocrine or beta cells in the pancreas that produces and secretes insulin.

A similar situation can happen when the beta cells are destroyed by some infection or virus of a disease or could also be due to the injury of the pancreas. This is known as secondary diabetes.

As a result, when one consumes a lot of carbohydrates, the body breaks it down and the digested glucose start to get excessively absorbed and accumulated in the blood thus causing high blood sugar.

Diabetes Blood sugar test

Diabetes Blood sugar test Image Credit: pixabay


Type 2 Diabetes

This condition of high blood sugar is very different from type 1. Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the insulin levels may be disrupted.

However, the main cause of high blood sugar is the body’s unresponsive nature to get triggered by insulin. In that, it is unable to act as a counter agent to hyperglycemia-generating hormones or trigger the liver to store and convert glucose. In simpler words, the body becomes resistant to insulin.

Because your body cells are unresponsive, the pancreas will initially over-produce insulin and control the situation but eventually it won’t be able to keep up due to overworking and glucose will start to accumulate in the blood in an uncontrollable manner.Type 1Type 25-10% of total diabetes caes90% of all diabetes casesAffect people of ages 1-40Usually affects people of ages 40+Treatments include: Insulin injection and constant sugar level monitoringTreatments include: diet, exercise and insulin or  pills.

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