Type 1 and type 2 diabetes


Greg Foot explains the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and the role insulin plays in controlling glucose levels

Diabetes is a condition where the blood glucose levels cannot be controlled effectively.

There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a disorder in which the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.

This can be detected from an early age. It is characterised by uncontrolled high blood glucose levels and it can be controlled by injecting insulin.

A range of tools used for monitoring and treating diabetes

It can be treated by injecting insulin. The extra insulin causes the liver to convert glucose into glycogen, which reduces the blood glucose level.

People with type 1 diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day. Their levels of physical activity and their diet affect the amount of insulin needed.

They can help to control their blood glucose level by being careful with their diet, and eat foods that will not cause large increases in blood sugar level, and by exercising, which can lower blood glucose levels due to increased respiration in the muscles.

Type 2 diabetes

In type 2 diabetes the person's body cells no longer respond to insulin produced by the pancreas. It is more common in older people. It can be managed by eating a carbohydrate controlled diet and an exercise regime.

Type 2 diabetes can also be controlled using insulin injections to increase the levels of insulin so that the body responds to it. However, this is not effective in the long term unlike type 1 diabetes.

Carbohydrate is digested into glucose, which raises the overall blood glucose level. There is a positive correlation between rising levels of obesity in the general population and increasing levels of Type 2 diabetes.

The correlation between obesity and type 2 diabetesChanges in obesity and type 2 diabetes

Use the graph to describe the patterns in this data. [4 marks]

The graph shows a range of data from 1990 to 2000. The mean body weight has steadily increased (1 mark) from approximately 72.5 kg in 1990, to just over 77 kg in 2000. (1 mark)

This correlates with a general increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes. (1 mark) For example, the percentage was just below 5 percent in 1990 up to just below 7.5 percent in 2000. This shows an overall increase in 2.5 percent over 10 years. (1 mark)

Use the labels on the axes to help you describe the relationship between the data in the graphs. Include data to support your answer.

Comparing type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1Type 2
CausePancreas stops making insulinBody no longer responds to its own insulin (though pancreas will still make it)
ConsequenceBlood glucose levels remain too highBlood glucose levels remain too high
Use of insulin injectionsPuts insulin into the bloodstream as the person cannot make insulinIncreases the amount of insulin in the blood to levels that will cause a response
Use of exerciseExercise causes glucose up be used up in respiration so lowers blood glucose levelsExercise causes glucose up be used up in respiration so lowers blood glucose levels
Use of dietPerson should avoid eating foods that are high in sugarPerson should eat a carbohydrate controlled diet
Age of onsetYounger childrenOlder people
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