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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Harun

Understanding the Difference between Type 1 & 2 Diabetes and their Impact on Canada's Population


People frequently have a variety of associations when the word "Diabetes" is brought up, many of which center on regulating and restricting sugar intake. But there are a lot more aspects to this complicated condition than people typically understand. It’s not just about sacrificing a chocolate bar now and then but making permanent lifestyle changes. In Canada, nearly 1 in 3 people now have diabetes or prediabetes as a result of a sharp rise in the prevalence of diabetes among the population in recent years. Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in our day due to its extensive effects on Canada's population, with an increasing average rate of 3.3% every year. Therefore, it is crucial to dive into the complex nuances of this ailment, including a thorough comprehension of its several forms that are common among Canadians, notably type 1 and type 2 Diabetes.


Type 1 Diabetes

The first type of diabetes is known as “Type 1”, also previously known as “juvenile diabetes” or “insulin-dependent diabetes”. This is when the pancreas (a small gland behind the stomach) does not produce any insulin for the body. Insulin is very important for the body because it helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so that it can be used to make energy. Over time, the pancreas would progressively produce small amounts of insulin to maintain the blood glucose levels for the body, until it no longer can produce any more insulin.


The Role of Insulin:

The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream.

Insulin travels through the body, allowing sugar to enter the cells.

Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

As the blood sugar level drops, the pancreas secretes less insulin into the bloodstream.

The Role of Glucose:

Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver.

Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen.

When glucose levels are low, such as when you haven't eaten in a while, the liver breaks down the stored glycogen into glucose. This keeps glucose levels within a typical range.

There's no insulin to let glucose into the cells. Because of this, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. This can cause life-threatening complications and damage the body. According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, the exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is yet to be discovered, however, researchers believe that other causes such as genetics or environmental factors could have some slight influence. Additionally, individuals can have risk factors for Type 1 diabetes depending on the following:

Risk Factors:

  • Family History: An individual with a family member who has diabetes has a greater chance of developing the condition

  • Genetics: Individuals with a certain gene could be at risk of developing the condition

  • Age: An individual can develop the condition at any age, however the most common peak of Type 1 diabetes is children between ages 4-7 years old and children between ages 10-14 years old

Due to there being no certain cure, doctors and researchers have resorted to alternative treatments for those with Type 1 diabetes. These treatments include taking insulin when needed for the individual. This ensures that the blood glucose levels are maintained and the body is functioning properly. As well as maintaining food intake and nutrition, this can be counting macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as generally eating more healthy food and maintaining a healthy relationship with physical activity and maintaining weight. Finally, maintaining blood sugar often includes wanting to maintain blood sugar levels before meals between 80 and 130 mg/dL (4.44 to 7.2 mmol/L). After-meal numbers should be no higher than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) two hours after eating. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes also must take various treatments of insulin therapy throughout their life.

Types of Insulin Someone with Type 1 Diabetes can take:

  • Short-acting insulin. Sometimes called regular insulin, this type starts working around 30 minutes after injection. It reaches a peak effect at 90 to 120 minutes and lasts about 4 to 6 hours.

  • Rapid-acting insulin. This type of insulin starts working within 15 minutes. It reaches a peak effect at 60 minutes and lasts about 4 hours. This type is often used 15 to 20 minutes before meals.

  • Intermediate-acting insulin. Also called NPH insulin, this type of insulin starts working in about 1 to 3 hours. It reaches a peak effect at 6 to 8 hours and lasts 12 to 24 hours.

  • Insulin cannot be taken orally, due to the stomach enzymes breaking down the insulin, preventing it from working. Therefore, Type 1 diabetics will need to take insulin through injections, or insulin pumps.

  • Injections: You can use a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen to inject insulin under the skin. Insulin pens look like ink pens and are available in disposable or refillable varieties. If you choose shots (injections), you'll probably need a mixture of insulin types to use during the day and night.

  • An insulin pump: This is a small device worn on the outside of your body that you program to deliver specific amounts of insulin throughout the day and when you eat. A tube connects a reservoir of insulin to a catheter that's inserted under the skin of your abdomen. There's also a tubeless pump option that involves wearing a pod containing the insulin on your body combined with a tiny catheter that's inserted under your skin.

When it comes to Type 1 diabetes, there are many precautions to take overall, with it being a very hand on task to take care of. It has been estimated that of the overall cases of diabetes among Canadians, nearly 9% of those cases are those with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is known as a less common type of diabetes, although it is not as common, its impact should be acknowledged and recognized, by anyone interested, to know the details about it. Overall, Type 1 diabetes is a very critical autoimmune disease for individuals, and many should know the factors that come with such a disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

When people think of diabetes, the most common type they know about is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which used to be known as “adult on-sent diabetes”, is a condition that happens because of a problem in the way the body regulates and uses sugar as a fuel, the sugar again being glucose. This long-term condition results in too much sugar circulating in the blood. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. This means that there are two problems, one is that the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, and the cells in the body respond poorly to the insulin and take in less sugar. This means that individuals with Type 2 diabetes have to restrict their intake of sugar in general and maintain their overall health.


Those who may develop the condition can depend on many factors such as family history, diet, or overall health. As individuals grow with age, some symptoms to look out for when worrying about Type 2 Diabetes include unusual thirst, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, blurred vision, weight change, and more. Additionally, there are many risk factors that individuals may have in developing the condition, some more likely than others.

Risk Factors:

  • Have prediabetes.

  • Are overweight.

  • Are 45 years or older.

  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.

  • Are physically active less than 3 times a week.

  • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or given birth to a baby who weighed over 9 pounds?

Even though there is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, those who have the condition can alter their way of life to maintain their health. Restricting sugar intake, keeping an eye on blood sugar levels, eating a nutritious, balanced meal, getting regular exercise, and many other changes are included. Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent kind of diabetes in Canada, accounting for 90% of all occurrences of the disease. This indicates a huge effect on Canada's population by demonstrating how the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes has grown there over time, endangering the populace. Although the prevalence of this ailment has increased significantly across the globe, most lately, it has done so in Canada.


As a whole, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have had significant impacts on Canada, affecting individuals, families, and the healthcare system. Diabetes is becoming more common in Canada, which has increased healthcare expenses and put a strain on available resources. Effective management and prevention measures for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes depend on an understanding of their differences. Canada may work to lower the prevalence of diabetes and enhance the quality of life for people who are affected by it by promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing knowledge of the disease, and supporting research and innovation. To tackle this chronic condition and guarantee a better future for Canadians, it is essential to recognize the significance of diabetes education and early intervention.



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