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The differences between type-1 and type-2 diabetes

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is the leading global organization focused on type-1 diabetes (T1D) research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treatment and prevention of T1D.

Although awareness about JDRF is high, confusion about the disease on which JDRF focuses, T1D, is also high. This confusion arises from a general lack of knowledge about the essential differences between T1D and type 2 diabetes, or T2D. The following information is provided to assist in communications about T1D and T2D.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is the medical name given to disorders of the regulation of blood glucose, also called "blood sugar," in the body. As mentioned before, the two major types of diabetes are T1D and T2D.

Type-1 Diabetes (T1D):

T1D is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults at any age. It occurs when the body's own immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas.

Beta cells produce insulin, which is an essential hormone needed by the body to obtain energy from food. The onset of T1D has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. T1D strikes suddenly, causes lifelong dependence on injected or pumped insulin and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

As many as three million Americans may live with the daily burden of T1D. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults - approximately 80 people per day - are diagnosed with T1D in the United States.

Type-2 Diabetes (T2D):

T2D is a metabolic disease, also known as a "metabolic disorder," in which a person's body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. T2D is usually diagnosed in adulthood, but there is a growing number of cases of T2D in children due to an increase in childhood obesity.

T2D sometimes can be treated with diet and lifestyle interventions, as well as oral medications. T2D does not always require injected or pumped insulin. People with T2D are also at risk for devastating complications.

As many as 23 million Americans are affected by T2D. T2D is the most common form of diabetes.

Both T1D and T2D are the leading causes of kidney failure, new cases of blindness and non-traumatic lower-limb amputations among adults in the United States. T1D and T2D are major causes of heart disease and stroke among adults in the United States.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education.

If you would like to get involved with JDRF and become a volunteer in your community, please contact Kristine Evina at or call her at (610) 428-8490.