The Difference Between Type I and Type II Diabetes

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The Difference Between Type I and Type II Diabetes

Diabetes has become a national health concern in recent years as more and more people, especially middle-aged and older adults, are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes. At the same time, about 5% of all adult diabetics have Type I diabetes, a condition diagnosed in youth, but lasting throughout the lifespan.

Despite differing in many important ways, Type I and type II diabetes are often confused. To help seniors and families clarify the difference between them, Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in Fairfield presents a few facts about each of the diseases.

Age of Onset

While either type of diabetes can strike at any age, in general, Type I is generally diagnosed before the age of twelve and is known as juvenile diabetes.  Type II is still sometimes called adult-onset diabetes, although it is being diagnosed at younger and younger ages.

Course of Treatment

Type I requires the administration of synthetic insulin. With Type II, insulin is usually only a small part of a complex treatment regimen that involves medication to lower blood-sugar, like Metformin, and lifestyle changes. Both require frequent monitoring of a blood-sugar levels (BSLs) to ensure the best outcome, which is maintaining normal levels between 70 – 110 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).

Lifestyle Factors

Nothing a person can do in life will cause Type I diabetes. The condition arises from a host of poorly understood factors having to do with the immune system and the pancreas. Type II diabetes, however is more straightforward. It is closely linked to hereditary factors, obesity, diet, inactivity, and aging. The body is no longer able to use insulin efficiently after a lifetime of over-production of the hormone.


Neither type of diabetes can be cured at this time; however, with the right combination of therapies, Type II diabetics can achieve normal blood-sugar levels and reduce or eliminate the need for medication. Type I diabetics will always require insulin, although improvements in delivery are made regularly, along with new and better formulations of the synthetic insulin itself. Further research may find new ways to manage both conditions, although for Type II, prevention may be the best available option today.

Combating either type of diabetes can be a struggle, especially for older adults, but having a complete understanding of the major differences, including the etiology and treatments, helps.

If your aging parent or loved one is living with either type of diabetes and needs help managing daily activities and important lifestyle factors, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Fairfield today. While we are the live-in care experts, we also offer hourly home care for Fairfield seniors, helping with a range of household chores and personal care needs to ensure safety and longevity. Call us at 203-955-1915 and speak with a friendly Care Manager for more information.


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