Type 1 Diabetes is NOT Type 2 

Type 1 Diabetes is through-out our house.

My husband was diagnosed he was thirteen years old and my four-year old daughter was diagnosed a year ago. Click here to read how her life in T1D started. 

It’s here too stay, for our whole lives.

T1D is classified as a chronic disease.

T1D is classified as a disability.

T1D has nothing in common with Type 2 diabetes except for the name.

Why do people get Type 1 Diabetes?

The reason for T1D happening in people is still an ‘unknown’ and not a scientific proven fact. There is no a+b=c in T1D diabetes. It just happens. (great… right?!) While scientist do theorize that possibly genetics play a role, there is still no proven facts. Any doctor in the endocrinology field should tell you the technical answer of “WHY” you got type 1 diabetes, is “unknown”.

T1D classification is as an auto-immune disease. Meaning: for some reason, your predisposition in family genes or in your environment, or possibly when your sick and body run down. Then your body’s immune system literally attacks healthy pieces inside, and destroys the use of that organ. In T1D — your body’s immune system attacked your pancreas’ insulin producing cells, and you are left with NO way to produce insulin at all. You are now dependent on a life of injecting synthetic insulin into your fatty tissue.

Auto-Immune diseases are through-out people’s family tree. Diseases such as arthritis, thyroid and T1D can all come from the same family tree. (autoimmune) They all are connected. There is no cure. There are aids to help make life manageable, but no way to tell WHO will get what in your family, no way to stop it and no medicine to reverse the damage that has already been done inside your body.

The reason for getting T2D is still not a clear answer either, but certain risk factors are red flag’s. Little exercise, too much sleep or not enough sleep, overweight, middle-aged, and family history are some. Click here to read more about T2D risk factors.

Difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

The Huge difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that Type 1 means you are completely insulin dependent. You will die if you don’t take care of your Type 1 diabetes, giving yourself insulin throughout your day.

Type 2 Diabetes is that your pancreas still could (different from case to case) make insulin, BUT does not make insulin very well. Over producing insulin to compensate the inefficient use of insulin through-out your body, till your pancreas does eventually get worn out. This does make the care of T2D different from person to person. Depending on the health of their pancreas, their lifestyle, and their medication. Click here to read more about the differences.

The Popular Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes makes up for 90% of diabetic cases. Leaving the last 10% for Type 1 and Gestational Diabetes (diabetes that develops in a women that is pregnant and goes away after baby is born) Right here… this 90% number, leaves most of the exercising advice, food recipes, and lifestyle changes, obviously for the masses — Type 2 Diabetes.

Which is no hard feelings for the T1D because we know the mass of information out there is T2D targeted. It can get really frustrating however, when it’s the other way around. When T2D don’t understand the challenges of a T1D and equate as “both are the same.”

T1D should have a really good system of caregivers in places, through the nurses, doctors, dietitians, and social workers that make up our health care team at our children’s hospital. My husband has a great support system in our city’s endocrinology hospital floor unit. Regular and repetitive check ups thorough-out the year should keep T1D on track. (if you take care of yourself in the day-to-day)

Obviously regular checkups are great for those living with a chronic disease. But regular check-ups is a regular reminder that a T1D is living with a serious and chronic disease.

Problems and Risks of Type 1 Diabetes

Another huge difference is that majority of cases for diagnosing a Type 1 is at young child to young teen age range.

Where as diagnosing Type 2 is the over 40+ age range.

Of course there are always exceptions to these “typical majority” But most cases (statistically) would fall into these two ago groups.

Why does this even matter to mention?


If you’ve had T1D for the majority of your life — Your life style REALLY matters. If you eat a high fat diet, high sugar diet, smoke, excessive drink etc. — it may not matter for now (today), expect maybe a terrible blood sugar day. These poor health choices would affect a ‘normal’ healthy person, but for a T1D would be VERY dangerous.

However, if a T1D continually lives a dangerous life style through-out their young adult lives, by the time T1D is middle-aged the risk for heart disease and stroke, poor circulation leading to foot problems, liver disease, kidney disease, high cholesterol, nerve damage, eye disease, gum and dental diseases, certain types of cancer, depression and death is significantly and scientifically increased.

Just the age brackets of diagnose make T1D more lethal. While you live with T1D — a 20 year old needs to remember to take care of himself for the benefit of his 60 year old body.

Hope for the Type 1 Diabetic

Now that I’ve painted a bleak picture of what Type 1 Diabetes looks like…

Because of Robert Bating’s invention of synthetic insulin in 1959 Type 1 Diabetes is a manageable and livable disease. Before Banting’s discovery of insulin, Type 1 diabetics would control their intake of sugars trying to use dietary means to keep their blood sugars stable. Obviously a very difficult and not a long-term solution, as blood sugars that are constantly high will eventually wreak havoc on your primary organs and your 60 year old future will not be thanking you for the kidneys, liver, and heart disease. Obviously they had no choice.  

Now that we have the advantage of having synthetic insulin, the diabetes world has been taken in leaps and strides. Even from when my husband was diagnosed over 20 years ago till now, the industry for T1D has changed so much and become much more able to manage T1D and mimic the work of a healthy pancreas. (very ideal)

  • – better synthetic insulin
  • – Canadian government-funded pump programs
  • – advance insulin pump technology
  • – government disability coverage
  • – public and family education
  • – support groups
  • – more accurate dietary measuring
  • – food labels on most food product
  • – leading technology to measure Blood glucose levels
  • – hope for a cure

These all make the life of a T1D much better. 

By: Sharon Schuler

Sharon Schuler

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