Type 1, Type 2 and comparisons

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Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your body cannot regulate your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes symptoms such as:

These symptoms are shared between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, the types develop at very different speeds. As a result, the symptoms appear very differently.

Diabetes symptoms are the result of high blood sugar levels in the body.

These symptoms appear suddenly in type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, they often develop slowly over many years.

Common early symptoms are:

Type 1 diabetes symptoms appear very quickly, often over a few weeks, when the body’s pancreas stops making insulin.

Type 1 diabetes occurs more often in children or adolescents, but sometimes also in adulthood.

Because the symptoms of type 1 diabetes appear so quickly, they are generally severe and noticeable. For example, you can lose a dramatic amount of weight in just a few weeks. You may also have stomach pain and vomiting.

Also, because type 1 diabetes develops so quickly, your blood sugar can get very high before you can be diagnosed and treated. This can sometimes lead to a medical emergency called ketoacidosis that requires immediate treatment.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop more slowly than those of type 1 diabetes due to insulin resistance, and the pancreas slowly loses the ability to produce enough insulin.

You could have type 2 diabetes for years with no symptoms. When symptoms start, they are often mild. It is easy to refuse or confuse them with other conditions.

Over time, people with type 2 diabetes develop higher and higher levels of glucose in their blood, which can cause:

Most of the symptoms of diabetes are the same in infants, children, and adults. However, infants and young children cannot communicate their symptoms. Instead, parents or caregivers will notice symptoms. You may notice:

If infants and children develop diabetes, it is most likely type 1, but children can develop type 2 too.

As in adults, the early symptoms are the same regardless of type: Type 1 symptoms appear much faster. Type 2 symptoms develop more slowly.

Diabetes can affect several areas of the body. This includes the:

  • Eyes. Diabetes often causes blurred vision. Diabetes that is not treated well can lead to vision loss.
  • Skin. Diabetes can make it much harder for your body to heal cuts, scratches, and other wounds. This can put you at a higher risk of infection.
  • Bladder. Diabetes can cause frequent urination and increase your risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Feet. Diabetes can affect blood flow to your feet, making it difficult for you to feel cuts and scratches on your feet. It also decreases your body’s ability to heal these wounds.
  • Arms and legs. Diabetes can lead to diabetic neuropathy, pain, and numbness in the arms and legs.

The symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes start the same way.

However, type 2 diabetes symptoms appear slowly over several years. They are often milder at first.

Type 1 symptoms develop quickly within a few weeks. They are generally heavier.

Both types of diabetes can lead to additional symptoms over time that can affect your eyes, limbs, feet, and skin.

Although they may not be able to express this, children and infants have the same symptoms as adults. Parents and caregivers can look out for symptoms.


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