Type 1 vs. Type 2

Living with a functioning pancreas is something many people take for granted. While many people know that they have an organ in their body called the pancreas, they are unaware of this organ’s function and purpose in their survival. My brother, who is 14 years old, lives every day with an inoperable pancreas, an organ that is lifeless, purposeless, and simply takes up space in his body. My brother’s life lies in the hands of the manufacturers that produce the artificial insulin that goes inside of his body to regulate his blood sugars.

My brother is a Type 1 diabetic. It is not his fault that his pancreas does not work. Often times people will confuse Type 1 diabetes with Type 2 diabetes. Everyone has seen those commercials that state they can help you prevent or reverse diabetes through diet and exercise or maybe even medication. Throughout the entire commercial, it will refer to the disease only as diabetes, not Type 2 diabetes. Only at the very end of the commercial will you quickly hear a disclaimer that it is not intended for people with Type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, these kinds of commercials can be misleading to the public because of it being referred to only as diabetes and not differentiating between the two diseases. While Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes are similar, Type 2 diabetics can live without the assistance of manufactured insulin, whereas Type 1 diabetics are completely dependent on the artificial insulin they receive through injections and insulin pumps.

Type 1 diabetes is the result of the immune system attacking the beta cells of the pancreas, and Type 2 diabetes is the result of abnormal secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease; Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition (Campbell). Both deal with the inability to control blood sugars involuntarily within the body; however, the two diseases are different in many ways. In most cases, treatment for Type 2 diabetics starts with exercise, an improved diet, and the assistance of insulin shots whenever they need to correct their blood sugars. Treatment for Type 1 diabetics, on the other hand, are the critical units of insulin they inject into their body before or after every meal, and whenever they need to lower high blood sugar levels (Iliades). Type 1 diabetics are entirely dependent on artificial insulin, whereas Type 2 diabetics may benefit from these insulin shots, or they can simply take pills that help regulate their blood sugar. There is no current cure for either of the diseases, but there is at least a way to prevent Type 2 diabetes through weight control and living a healthy and active lifestyle. The similarities of the two diseases are evident, but the vast differences between the two are even more essential in the understanding of the frustration that people feel when they are told it is their fault for living with a disease when they really had absolutely no control over the matter.

It is pretty easy for those of you without diabetes to assume that all forms of diabetes come from the lack of self-care to one’s body. But when you have seen stories of children with Type 1 diabetes dying in their sleep; when you have seen stories of people dying because insulin is too expensive for them to buy; when you have seen the strange looks on people’s faces as your brother tests his sugar or receives insulin injections; when you have seen people telling your brother that he must have eaten too much sugar as a kid; when you have seen people ask your brother if he has the “good” or “bad” diabetes; when you have seen your brother get seizures from low blood sugars; when you have seen doctors promising your brother a cure in 5 years but they said that 10 years ago — then you will understand that not all forms of diabetes are caused by neglecting to care one’s body, as Type 1 diabetes is the body uncontrollably attacking itself.


Works Cited

Campbell, Amy. “Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2.” Diabetes Self-Management, 28 Nov. 2016,


Iliades, Chris. “What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?”  

EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 8 May 2017,  www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/difference-between-type-1-type-2-diabetes/.