Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is diabetes type 2 more dangerous than diabetes type one?"
My doctor said I had type two diabetes. Is this more dangerous than type 1? I'm 38 if that makes a difference.
This is a difficult question to answer because no type 1 or type 2 diabetic is exactly the same. In addition, there are some aspects of each that are different but dangerous. I would say on average that the two types are equally dangerous. I will explain. Type 1 diabetics lack the ability to make insulin. This causes their blood sugar to rise uncontrollably. The only treatment for this is insulin replacement. If insulin is not given for some time, blood sugar can rise to the point of causing a diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a life-threatening condition that happens much more frequently in type 1 than in type 2 diabetics. In type 2, the body makes insulin, but the body's cells are resistant to it. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with diet, weight loss, oral medications, and sometimes insulin. A life threatening condition that occurs more frequently in type 2 diabetics is the diabetic coma. This occurs when blood sugar rises to very high levels. In both types, complications such as foot ulcers, neuropathy, blindness, and heart attacks can occur when blood sugar is not controlled over many years. Likewise these complications can largely be prevented with adequate blood sugar control in both types. Since you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will probably need frequent visits with your primary care physician. He or she will want to follow your hemoglobin a1c levels (measurement of blood sugar) to make sure that your blood sugars are being controlled well. Over time, this will help prevent the complications associated with diabetes. Good luck with your health.
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