Similarities Between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

Joseph R. Anticaglia MD
Medical Advisory Board

Type 1& 2 diabetes result from problems with insulin causing high blood glucose levels. Previous discussions highlighted the differences between both types of diabetes mellitus. What follows are several highlighted similarities.


  • Fatigue, being tired is a common complaint of types 1 & 2 diabetes
  • Both conditions cause hyperglycemia — elevated blood glucose, and require frequent blood glucose tests.
  • The primary test to diagnose type 1 & 2 diabetes is hemoglobin A1C. It is a blood test that measures your average blood glucose level over the past three months. An A1C level of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes. Other tests include the fasting and random glucose blood tests.
  • Medications used to treat both types of diabetes can cause hypoglycemia, A drop in blood glucose can be dramatic and require hospital emergency treatment.
  • Both conditions can cause a lack of insulin production by the pancreas.
    Type 1 diabetes is characterized by being an autoimmune disease that destroys the beta cells of the pancreas usually in persons under the age of twenty. They need insulin injections, or the use of an insulin pump every day. The pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin.
    Type 2 diabetes commonly affects people over the age of forty five. Most are treated with lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and medications. Initially, the pancreas secretes insulin. At some point in the disease, if 80 to 90 percent of the beta cells are destroyed, these individual require daily insulin injections.
  • Both share similar signs and symptoms. But the symptoms can they differ in how rapidly they turn up. Some of the symptoms include:
    Four P’s:

    • Polyuria — increase frequency of urination
    • Polydipsia — abnormally great thirst
    • Polyphagia — excessive hunger
    • Polyneuropathy — numbness and tingling in the hands and feet


    • Slow wound healing
    • Sugar in the blood — hyperglycemia
    • Blurry vision
    • Glycosuria — sugar in the urine
    • Acetone breath —resembles scent of nail polish removal
    • Repeated yeast infections — vaginitis
  • Type 1 & 2 diabetes share similar complications

Years of untreated or treated diabetes can lead to constriction of arterial blood vessels. Vasoconstriction and hardening of the arteries can damage your kidneys, heart, peripheral nerves, eyesight and cause lower limbs problems that might require amputations.

The CDC says diabetes affects 37.3 million Americans. It’s trending in the wrong direction with more Americans developing it every year. It’s another chronic disease that in the majority of cases is highly preventable. We need do a better job a reversing this trend.


  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; What is Diabetes? July 18,2017
  2. CDC; Statistical Report; January 18, 2022
  3. Joseph R. Anticaglia, MD’ Type 1 Diabetes Four Key Players; Doctor’s Column, HC Smart, 2022
  4. Joseph R. Anticaglia, MD’ Type 2 Diabetes Watch Your Ps & Ss: Doctor’s Column, HC Smart 2022

This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.