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What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?


Recently I had a patient who informed me they were a diabetic but couldn’t remember which type.

“Oh well, it’s all the same anyway isn’t it?” was his cheerful response. Sadly, he is not the first nor will he be the last to get confused about the different types. It can get a little perplexing, particularly if you aren’t all that familiar with it and your GP hands you a stack of information the size of a small hatchback talking about it. Not to mention the verbal barrage of information you get from well-intentioned friends/neighbours/family members!

With that in mind, today I will simplify the process for you and briefly discuss the different types so you can easily and clearly remember them.

Naturally there is considerably more information relating to both of these topics but I wanted to give you a general run-through. If you think you may be at risk or if the symptoms sound familiar it’s important you chat to you G.P at the next visit aIMG_1559nd they can guide you through what needs to happen.

If you would like to find more information is a wonderful resource you can refer back to.

See you next time,



  Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
What is it?
  • An auto-immune condition occurring when your immune system begins to target and destroy the insulin producing cells in your pancreas.
  • Unlike Type 2, is not linked to our lifestyle factors.
  • Represents around 10% of all cases of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions
  • Onset is usually abrupt and the symptoms obvious


  • Progressive condition whereby your body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the ability to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.
  • Strong correlation with modifiable lifestyle risk factors.
  • Strong genetic and family related risk factors.
  • Represents 85–90% of all cases of diabetes
  • Usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring in younger age groups


What happens with it?
  • The insulin producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed by your immune system.
  • Why is this a concern? Without insulin, the body’s cells are unable to turn glucose (sugar), into energy.
  • Reliant on daily insulin injections to replace the insulin the body cannot produce



  • The insulin deficiency is caused by pancreas still producing but only in small amounts.
  • Often managed initially with lifestyle modifications and advice on healthy eating and exercise.
  • Progressive condition and over time most people need oral tablets and may also need insulin injections.
  • Taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer long-term diabetic complications.


How is it caused?
  • Strong genetic link
  • Cannot be prevented.
  • Nothing to do with an lifestyle
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important in helping to manage type 1 diabetes.
  • Genetic disposition
  • Increased risk when associated with poor lifestyle factors such as hypertension, and obesity.
What are the symptoms?
  • Excessively thirsty
  • Frequently urination
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Constant hunger
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps


  • Excessively thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Constant hunger
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradual weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps


How is it managed? Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin injections several times a day or the use of an insulin pump. While your lifestyle choices didn’t cause type 1 diabetes, the choices you make now can minimise many of the complications associated with diabetes.

If you have recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or have a family member with type 1 diabetes, more information can be found at

While there is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, the condition can be managed through lifestyle modifications and medication. Type 2 diabetes is progressive and needs to be managed effectively to prevent complications.

If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have a family member with type 2 diabetes, more information can be found at


We have HICAPS available in our clinic, which means that our patients can claim from their private health fund straight away

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Shop 2/17-19 East Parade
Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491