There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key.
People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key.
People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. You can think of it as having a broken key.
Both types of diabetes can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels. That increases the risk of diabetes complications.
If not managed, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to symptoms such as:
- urinating frequently
- feeling very thirsty and drinking a lot
- feeling very hungry
- feeling very fatigued
- having blurry vision
- having cuts or sores that don’t heal properly
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may also experience irritability, mood changes, and unintentional weight loss.
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may also have numbness and tingling in their hands or feet. Good glucose management significantly reduces the risk of developing numbness and tingling in someone with type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Although many of the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar, they present in very different ways.
Many people with type 2 diabetes won’t have symptoms for many years, and their symptoms often develop slowly over the course of time. Some people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all and don’t discover they have the condition until complications arise.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop quickly, typically over the course of several weeks. Once known as juvenile diabetes, this type usually develops in childhood or adolescence. However, it’s possible to develop type 1 diabetes later in life.