Differences Between Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes | Cornerstones4Care®

What’s the Difference?

As a parent or caregiver of someone with type 1 diabetes, you know a lot about how it works and how it’s treated. But do you ever find that people who think they “know” about diabetes make assumptions and judgments about type 1 diabetes based on information they’ve heard about type 2 diabetes? It can be frustrating to have these conversations, but these talks are also a great opportunity to help people understand what the differences are and how they can be of help. 

So, here’s a quick review to help you outline it for them. 

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, previously called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, represents about 5% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. With type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough (or sometimes any) insulin. Too much sugar in the blood can cause diabetes-related problems (complications). Although children, teenagers, and young adults are most often diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it can develop at any age.  For more information, click here.  

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, previously called adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, is the most common form of diabetes. It is usually found in adults, but as rates of childhood obesity rise, it is being seen more and more in young people too. Generally, in type 2 diabetes, the body is still making some insulin but cannot correctly use the insulin it does make, leaving too much sugar in the blood. Just like in type 1 diabetes, too much sugar in the blood can cause diabetes-related problems (complications). About 95% of people who have diabetes have type 2. For more information, click here.  

Comparison chart


Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes

The body makes little or no insulin

The body prevents the insulin it does make from working correctly

People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day

The body may make some insulin, but not enough

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed more often in children and young adults

Most people with diabetes–about 95%–have type 2

This kind of diabetes is usually diagnosed in adulthood, especially in people who are older or in those who are overweight

Under Control?

It’s hard to know how tightly you should control your child or teen’s blood sugar. We have some information that can help.

Online Support, 24/7/365

There’s a place where type 1 diabetes support is always available—Cornerstones4Care.com! Find tools, tips, information, and inspiration specifically created for people with type 1 diabetes and those who care for them.