Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children and young adults, but the disorder can appear at any age. Researchers discovered antibodies in the blood of some people with diabetes which targeted the beta cells making insulin. This discovery revealed that Type 1 diabetes, which was then called childhood diabetes, was actually an autoimmune disease where the body destroyed its own beta cells because they appeared to be foreign. The presence of these antibodies distinguished it from Type 2 or adult onset diabetes. Get more information on Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1.5 is one of several names now applied to those who are diagnosed with diabetes as adults, but who do not immediately require insulin for treatment, are often not overweight, and have little or no resistance to insulin. When special lab tests are done, they are found to have antibodies, especially GAD65 antibodies, that attack their beta cells. This sort of diabetes is sometimes called Slow Onset Type 1 or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults or LADA. Compared to Type 1 occurs at an older age where the immune system conducts a slower attack on the beta cells rather than the more aggressive attack encountered in children or teens. Underdeveloped countries have higher rates of diabetes, especially Type 1.5. Get more information on Type 1.5 diabetes.
About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have Type 2. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body has trouble using its own insulin to control the blood sugar. At the time of diagnosis, beta cells often are producing as much or more insulin as would be needed by someone else of equal weight. But changes in liver, fat and muscle cells have created resistance to insulin. Fat cells are not responsive to insulin, so they begin releasing free fatty acids into the bloodstream and these worsen the response to insulin. The liver does not respond to insulin so it is less able to turn off its production and release of glucose, and the blood sugar rises further. Cells in the muscles would normally pick up glucose from the blood, but insulin resistance weakens this effort. All these cellular changes cause damaging fat and sugar levels to rise in the blood. Get more information on Type 2 diabetes.
|Characteristics:||Type 1||Type 2|
|Insulin production||absent||normal or abnormal|
|Age at onset||usually before 40 if after 40 usually slow onset||usually after 40, although increasing in younger people|
|Physical appearance||often thin||often overweight, especially apple figure|
|Symptoms||sudden onset: greater thirst, urination, hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, infections||gradual, subtle onset of similar symptoms|
|Treatment||insulin, diet, exercise||diet, exercise oral agents and/or insulin|