ZocdocAnswersWhat determines if you get diabetes 1 or 2?

Question

What determines if you get diabetes 1 or 2?

Both of them have to do with sugar, right? Is it just a matter of age. I'm a 31 year old female. Thanks.

Answer

While answering this question completely is well beyond the scope of this forum due to the significant research that has been done on diabetes, I am happy to grossly simplify things and give you some general information. In general the term diabetes refers to a group of diseases that result in high blood sugar either because of the inability to synthesize enough insulin, or the inability of the bodies cells to respond to the insulin that is produced. Insulin is manufactured in the body by an endocrine gland called the pancreas. It is secreted in response to glucose within the blood. In type 1 diabetes, there is insufficient synthesis and secretion of insulin by the pancreas. The main theories on the etiology of type 1 diabetes are that it is autoimmune (the bodies own immune system attacks the islet cells of the pancreas) or idiopathic (unknown etiology). Type 1 diabetes is also known as "juvenile diabetes" because classically it first presents in childhood. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance which may be due to a lack of a response to an insulin cellular receptor. Thus classically type 2 diabetics have a long history of overeating that results in chronic high blood sugar levels which can lead to chronically high levels of insulin and ultimately resistance to the insulin. So while the age of diagnosis is generally different, the pathophysiology is completely different. I hope this helps.

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