Chart: The basic differences between type 1 & type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents — in fact, more than 150,000 people below age 20 have diabetes.

When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes. However, in the last 2 decades, type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among US children and adolescents with increasing frequency.

Furthermore, studies conducted in Europe showed an increase in the frequency of type 1 diabetes, especially in young children — but it is unclear whether the frequency of type 1 diabetes is also increasing among US youth.

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Some differences between Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
Often diagnosed in childhood, but can occur at any age Usually diagnosed after age 30
About 5-10 percent of people with diabetes have type 1 About 90-95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2
Not associated with excess body weight Often associated with excess body weight — about 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
No known prevention measures Studies have found that people can lower their risk by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through diet and increased physical activity
Often a sudden onset Symptoms develop gradually
Occurs equally among males and females, but is more common in whites than in nonwhites More common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, and occurs more often in African Americans, American Indians, some Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos
Formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes Increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, especially among African American, Mexican American, and Pacific Islander youth.
May be associated with higher than normal ketone levels at diagnosis Often associated with high blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels at diagnosis
An autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Initially, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons the body cannot use the insulin effectively, a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, insulin production decreases.
Cannot be controlled without taking insulin, usually by injection or insulin pump Can often be controlled by diet and/or oral medications
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