Diabetes Type 1 & 2: Cause & Treatments

Introduction of Diabetes Type 1 & 2

Diabetes mellitus, whether type 1 or type 2, is related to insufficient secretion of the pancreatic hormone insulin. Classification of diabetes is important for determining the therapy, but in some cases, individuals cannot be clearly classified as to which type they are having (having type 1 or type 2 diabetes) at the time of diagnosis.

The traditional concept that once existed is now considered inaccurate. Earlier it was believed that type 1 diabetes occurs only in children and type 2 diabetes occurs only in adults. This concept is has been disregarded by the diabetes experts as both diseases can occur in any age-group.

Syringe with drugs for diabetes treatment

Due to damage to beta cells (type 1) or even due to insulin resistance (type 2), the process is glucose metabolism gets affected. Glucose does not move into the cells as there isn’t sufficient insulin to make it do so. The excess of glucose from carbohydrate metabolism builds up in the blood while the cells remain malnourished. This causes high blood sugar which can lead to dehydration (due to the body’s tendency to lose excess sugar via urine), abrupt weight loss (as glucose does not reach the cells) and diabetic ketoacidosis (when body can’t get enough glucose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead, which builds up fatal chemicals called ketones in the body). Over time, high glucose levels in your blood can harm the nerves and small blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys, and even heart.


What Are The Causes of Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is caused due to autoimmune beta-cell destruction, usually leading to absolute insulin deficiency. Your immune system destroys cells in your pancreas called beta cells. These cells secrete insulin in our body.

The onset of type 1 diabetes is reportedly more variable in adults, and may not present with the classic symptoms as seen in children. Type 1 is more common in whites than in African-Americans and affects men and women equally.

A peculiar condition called secondary diabetes is also reported in some people. The condition is similar to type 1 diabetes, except that the immune system does not destroy the beta cells. The beta cells stop functioning due to some other reason, like a disease or an injury to the pancreas.

The Causes Of Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is found in most people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. It develops in individuals due to increasing in insulin resistance by the body and progressive loss of beta-cell secretion. People with type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their cells do not utilize the hormone as well as they should.


Type 2 diabetes is primarily associated with secretory defects of insulin related to inflammation and metabolic stress. Scientists have cited various reasons for this which include genetic composition, extra body weight (obesity), metabolic syndrome (extra fat around the waist, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and triglycerides), excessive glucose from your liver (liver dysfunction), improper endocrine signaling of beta cells and its stimulators.

The exact mechanism and pathways of beta-cell dysfunction are less well defined in type 2 diabetes. High blood glucose due to insulin resistance can cause damage to cells.


How Can You Treat Type 1 Diabetes?

There’s no way you can completely cure type 1 diabetes buy many people with type 1 diabetes live long, healthy lives. The key to this is to keep your blood sugar levels within the range specified by your doctor.

For that, you have to check blood sugar level often.

Diet and Activities

People with type 1 diabetes must adjust their diet plan and physical activities. Food with complex carbohydrates such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables are advised.  It is important to center your diet on nutritious, low-fat, high-fiber foods such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables

Insulin Therapy

All people with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections indeed, to control their blood sugar.


Three main things are always explained by the doctor when he recommends insulin:

  • “Onset”, or the stretch of time before it reaches your bloodstream and begins lowering blood sugar
  • “Peak time”, which is the time when insulin is doing the most work in terms of lowering blood sugar
  • “Duration”, that is how long it keeps working after onset.


Depending on the onset of action and peak time, there are four types of insulin:

  • Rapid-acting insulin starts to work in about 15 minutes and attains peak in around 1 hour after you take it and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Short-acting insulin which starts working in about 30 minutes, reaching the peak between 2 and 3 hours and keeps working for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting peaks from 4 to 12 hours after injection, and works for 12 to 18 hours.
  • Long-acting takes the longest time of all, taking several hours to get into your system and lasts for about 24 hours.

You may need to adjust insulin, as directed by your doctor.


 How Can You Treat Type 2 Diabetes?

Diet,  exercise, and medication – all three work together to bring your blood sugar under control in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Monitoring blood sugar and ketone level

Check Your Blood Sugar as many times in a day as advised by your doctor. Your blood glucose number tells you how well your treatment is working. It depends on what diabetes medications you’re taking. At times when you’re sick, you need to check your ketone level too.


Diet and Exercise

How much and when you eat is very important. One needs to pay attention to carbs, dietary fibers, fat, and salt to manage your blood sugar and avoid complications of diabetes. A talk to your diabetes team or a registered dietitian can help you plan your meals and snacks.

drugs and insulin syringe


Doctors recommend oral medications to individuals with type 2 diabetes as diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep their blood sugar under control.

  • The drug with generic name is metformin is the first line of diabetes medication. Some medications, like meglitinides and sulfonylureas, stimulate your pancreas to make more insulin.
    • DPP-4 inhibitors also stimulate insulin secretion.
    • Other medicines like thiazolidinediones, TZDs, or glitazones help lower insulin resistance from your cells.
    • The alpha-glucosidase inhibitors slow down the digestion of food with complex carbohydrates, like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and corn and keep your blood sugar from rising immediately after a meal.
    • The SGLT2 inhibitors let your kidneys excrete out extra sugar.

Injectable drugs slow how quickly food leaves your stomach and make you feel full. They tend to suppress the work of liver in making glucose around mealtimes. People with type 2 diabetes sometimes need insulin, for a short-term in a stressful situation, or because other medicines aren’t enough to control their blood sugar.

What can we Infer?

Many go for weight loss surgery nowadays, though it is not much successful in the long run. It also raises the level of hormones in your gut called incretins. Doctors recommend this to the patients who are obese.

Diabetes Management is not only the doctor’s responsibility. The patient is equally responsible for helping manage diabetes. One must follow his doctor’s advice religiously and take proper medication and diet as recommended by your diabetes expert. If the diagnostic results show that you are diabetic, don’t worry you can manage it with proper care.

Leave a Reply