Back to Double Diabetes Summary Comparing Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Comparing Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

While these characteristics are helpful in telling one type of diabetes from another, there is considerable overlap making the exact diagnosis difficult and sometimes impossible to decide.

Trait / Characteristic Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes
Typical clinical course Usually rapid onset, symptoms for a few weeks to one month Usually slower or more subtle onset, symptoms for many months
Weight Primarily lean, although as more children become overweight, increasing number of children with type 1 are overweight. Almost all of the children with type 2 are overweight or obese.
Diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) is diagnosed when the child has ketones in the urine and blood, and is dehydrated and sick. It usually requires hospitalization and IV fluids and insulin. This occurs in about 35%-40% of children at the time of diagnosis of type 1. A very mild form is found in some children with type 2. It has been reported to occur in type 2 in about 15% of cases at diagnosis.
Family history 5% have a relative with type 1 diabetes Up to 20% may have a relative with type 2 diabetes Almost all will have at least one relative with type 2.
Other conditions in addition to the diabetes A host of autoimmune disease such as thyroid and/or adrenal disorders, vitiligo (loss of pigmentation of the skin) and celiac disease are seen in children with type 1 at a higher rate than the general population. Autoimmune disorders also run in family members
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Acanthosis nigricans (90%)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Other obesity related conditions
  • C-peptide Can be preserved at diagnosis Always present
    Presence of islet auto-antibodies Although this is the hallmark of type 1, only 85% of those felt to have type 1 have antibodies. Although this is the hallmark of type 1, 15% of those presenting with what looks like type 2 diabetes have antibodies.

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